Harrods managing director Michael Ward has heralded the renaissance of the superbrand and said shoppers have continued to trade up to investment pieces post recession.

Speaking to Retail Week as the luxury department store revealed that it notched up a record pre-tax profit of £77.8m in the year to January 30, Ward said Harrods had benefited from increasing the space devoted to and prominence of superbrands including Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Dior.

“The power brands have been a huge success, they were the key driver in the performance of womenswear, ” said Ward.

He added that sales at the Knightsbridge store - which totalled £519.8m during the year up from £464m in the previous year - were driven by all categories and that the retailer had invested in all areas including the revamp of many of the superbrands’ boutiques, a strategy that has continued to roll out in the current year.

Ward said Harrods would continue to focus on emerging designers with its bridge brands such as Rag & Bone and Theory but denied it was a strategy to bring entry price points down.

Ward said Harrods also benefited during the year by increasing the amount of stock on the shopfloor, while many other retailers cut back inventories to avoid deep markdowns as shoppers reined in spending during the recession. The department store business also upped the space devoted to menswear by 11% and will increase the square footage for womenswear in 2011.

The retailer will also focus on its eponymous own-label going forward and is designing boutiques for the offer, which are set to open in 2011.

“We feel now that we have breadth and range across the [own-brand] categories,” he said.