Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group has revealed that profits and sales both grew in the year in which it acquired Austin Reed, Country Casuals and Viyella.

The group, which also owns brands including Peacocks and Jaeger and this year established Days department store, reported that adjusted operating profits rose 1.7% to £91.5m in the year to February 2017.

Like-for-likes at the Philip Day-run group grew 2.7%, as did total sales, which hit £592.1m.

Edinburgh Woolen Mill (EWM) attributed the growth to investment in stores and online sales increases at its individual brands, including Peacocks, at which online sales swelled 23.8%, and Ponden Home, where they rocketed 48.7%.

EWM chief operating officer Steve Simpson said: “By focusing relentlessly on improvements in quality, customer service, store environment and developing our web presence, we’ve anticipated our customers’ needs and they’ve continued to support us, recognising the value that each of the group’s brands offer.

“We’ve continued to grow despite the intense competition on the high street and from the new breed of online-only retailers.”

Expansion and acquisitions

Simpson added that the group would expand further over the current year, and hinted at future acquisitions.

“As a group, we are committed to driving growth both organically through the opening of new stores and, where synergistic opportunities present themselves, by acquisition.

“We expect that the group will be providing employment for a further 1,000 people by the end of the current year.”

After acquiring Austin Reed, Country Casuals and Viyella out of administration during its 2016 financial year, EWM snapped up heritage brand Jaeger in July and launched Days department store, which is centred on secondary locations.

Simpson said: “Though the Days department store concept we can bring more of the brands our customers want into a high street closer to where they live.

“We are constantly on the lookout for new sites and are investing in local high streets at the heart of regional communities. Alongside organic growth we are constantly looking for new opportunities and our Days department store concept is a good example of this.”