Womenswear retailer East returned to profit in the year to January 31and is planning to open further stores and concessions.

East, which was founded in 1994 by ex-Monsoon executives Clive Pettigrew, Penny Oliver and Jonathan Keating and has investment from former Channel  4 chairman Luke Johnson, saw pre-tax profit come in at £.2.1m, up from a loss of £1.7m in the previous year.

The company said this was helped by improvements in supply chain, a greater focus on stock level management and a lower level of discounting.

Total sales were up 12% to £37m as a result of both increased sales from existing stores and the opening of six new concessions in John Lewis and Fenwicks stores.

EBITDA for the period rose to £3m, compared with a loss of £500,000 the previous year.

In 2009, East also opened four stores in India through franchise partner Fabindia, which bought a 25% stake in East at the beginning of the year.

East said the first quarter of 2010 had exceeded targets. East opened two concessions – in Browns of Beverley and John Lewis Norwich – and one standalone store in Morpeth between February and April. 

East has 50 standalone stores and 27 concessions.

East said there were plans to open further standalone stores and concessions this year as well as to refurbish existing stores.