Whistles has reported shrinking losses on flat sales during its first year under new ownership.

The upmarket fashion retailer was bought by South African outfit Foschini Group in March 2016.

In the 62 weeks to April 2017, it racked up pre-tax losses of £3.78m, down from £5.8m.

Sales were roughly flat at £68.9m for the 62 weeks, compared to £58.5m for the 52 weeks to January 2016.

Foschini, which already owned fashion retailer Phase Eight when it bought Whistles, has since acquired Hobbs, which is in the later stages of a turnaround effort under boss Meg Lustman. Together, the trio represents a sizeable chunk of premium British womenswear retail.

Whistles’ UK sales were broadly flat at £66.4m for the 62 weeks, compared to £57.7m for the 52 weeks. The business did not give a like-for-like figure.

International sales boomed during the year, with European sales up 329% to £1.26m – on a 62-week basis – and rest-of-world sales up 163% to £1.19m.

Whistles, which operates 44 standalone stores in the UK, three standalone stores internationally and 90 concessions globally, said it plans to “grow the business footprint both in the UK and internationally” during 2018.