Arcadia has posted a £33.8m increase in group pre-tax profits before exceptional items to £166.9m despite a 3.2% fall in UK retail like-for-like sales.

Group sales were broadly flat at £2.7bn in the 52 weeks to August 25. Group like-for-likes fell 0.7%.

Total group operating profit before goodwill rose £35m to £225.4m from £190.4m.

The company said like-for-like sales including VAT rose 0.7% in the first 10 weeks of the financial year while margin has been “positive”.

Online sales rose 22% and international revenue was up 33%, with the retailer now present in 112 countries.

Arcadia boss Sir Philip Green said: “Given the very challenging conditions both in the UK and around the world, we are pleased to report strong cash generation of £330m.

“We have focused our efforts on being efficient in both stock management and delivering newness as regularly as possible, resulting in improved markdown and margin.”

He added: “Ecommerce sales continue to grow. We also continue to expand our franchise and international business having opened 15 new stores this year, taking our total to 615 franchised outlets operating in 39 countries.”

The retailer will open its first store in South Africa in Johannesburg tomorrow.