Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group has posted a decline in full-year profits as it confronted challenging trading conditions.

The fashion group, whose fascias include Peacocks and Jaeger and brands such as Austin Reed as well as the eponymous chain, made a pre-tax profit of £81.2m in the 18 months to August 25, 2018, on sales of £935.8m.

That compared to profits of £83.8m on sales of £592m in the previous reported 12-month period to February 2017.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM), owned by billionaire tycoon Philip Day, reported that Peacocks and EWM both made profits of £66.5 million and £32.1 million respectively, according to the Press Association.

Jaeger made a loss before tax of £3.9m on a 12-month basis.

EWM chief commercial officer Steve Simpson said: “In the face of a challenging retail environment, our commitment to the physical high street and relentless focus on our customers’ wants and needs has enabled us to, again, stand out from the crowd.

“One of the biggest successes of FY18 was the rollout of click and collect to our Peacock’s portfolio, offering our customers a strong digital proposition, but also encouraging them to come into our stores, browse, and buy.

“We have also continued to focus on product and build quality, as consumers’ buying decisions are increasingly made on the basis of long-term value rather than impulse. This means that we must retail a product not only at an attractive price point but also ensure it has a fashionable look and inherent product quality. In short, we continue to focus on providing exceptional value for money.”

Plans to build the fledgling Days department store business from one branch into a 50-store chain have been deprioritised. The retailer said: “The group remains committed to rolling out further Days department stores, but has prioritised investment in its luxury division across FY18, as it seeks to firmly establish the group as a retailer of a range of different brands targeting a wide range of consumers at a variety of price points.”

Day had hoped to buy House of Fraser last year but lost out to rival Mike Ashley who acquired it out of administration.

Day made a mandatory offer for Bonmarche after stake-building in the womenswear retailer. Bonmarche spurned the advance but said it would work with Day’s Spectre bid vehicle on its future plans.