Edinburgh Woollen Mill has posted record profits and put international growth on its agenda as the retailer seeks to expand.  

The fashion retailer, run by tycoon Philip Day, reported operating profit soared 184% from £20.6m to £58.5m in the year to March 2, 2013.

Group like-for-likes, excluding Peacocks, rose 1.2% while online sales were up 57.5%. Total sales rose from 130.7% from £246m to £567m.

The business bought Peacocks out of administration last year and has invested £80m into the retailer to put a focus on quality and online.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill has more than 1,000 shops. It opened 56 new stores in the year and has set a target of opening 100 more stores in the next 18 months, including new Peacocks shops.

The group, which also includes the Ponden Home fascia, is also eyeing opportunities to expand into Germany, Russia, and the Middle East.

The group said the “strong” performance had continued into the first six months of the new financial year with like-for-like sales up over 5%. it has also opened 30 new stores, creating 450 jobs.

Group commercial director Steve Simpson said: “UK retail remains a tough environment and we are focused on serving customers who are seeking value at a time of reduced discretionary spend but who will not compromise on quality.

“The group is free of debt so we can leverage a positive balance sheet and focus on a sensible-strategy which continues to deliver sustainable growth for the long term.”

Edinburgh Woollen Mill has now signed up to the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Accord which was developed after more than 1,100 people were killed when the Rana Plaza building collapsed in April. It housed five factories which supplied western retailers including Primark, Bonmarche and Canadian firm Joe Fresh.