Arcadia has posted a fall in pre-tax profits amid challenging conditions and a tough start to the new financial year following the warm autumn.

Sir Philip Green

Arcadia generated group pre-tax profit before exceptionals of £143.1m in the year to August 30 versus £148.1m the previous year.

Total sales of £2.7bn were just ahead of the previous year’s £2.68bn.

Arcadia owner Sir Philip Green reported that underlying UK retail like-for-likes inched up 0.1% compared with the previous year and ecommerce revenues climbed 13.4%.

Total like-for-likes rose 1.6%. Arcadia brands’ like-for-likes rose 0.7%. At BHS, which made a cash loss of £21m, like-for-likes climbed 3.6%.

In the first 10 weeks of this year total like-for-likes, including VAT, fell 1.2% because of “unseasonably mild and wet weather”.

Green said he was pleased with “strong cash generation of £296m against the background of ongoing challenging global market conditions”.

He said: The retail industry continues to be fast changing, as the number of channels through which customers choose to purchase and engage with us continually evolves, thus increasing the complexity of our operations, and our need for efficiency and speed to market.”

Green said there was investment of £105m in the group last year and a further £94.5m is planned this year.

He said: “We are investing heavily in new systems to support our international and multichannel development, and refurbishing our head office to provide our employees with a dynamic and creative working environment.”

Among Aradia’s UK businesses Green said Dorothy Perkins and Wallis had performed strongly and that Topshop and Topman continued to expand successfully at home and internationally.

He said that “BHS remains challenging” but a new food offer has trading “favourably” in three trial locations.