Zara’s British arm suffered a fall in earnings last year despite a spike in sales.

Pre-tax prfits dropped from 32.7% to £39.2m in the year to January 31, 2017, while sales rose 13% to £602.7m.

Parent company Inditex attributed the fall to investment, which included Zara store refurbishments to “keep the stores’ layout and atmosphere in line with the Zara brand image”.

It also closed stores in Oxford Circus and Gatwick and moved its London head office.

The results were in stark contrast to Zara’s last UK figures, when pre-tax profits jumped from £49.1m to £58.3m as sales rose 8.2%.

Despite that, the retailer’s performance was still market-beating, with much of UK high-street fashion retail suffering from the combined effects of a weakened pound, shaky consumer confidence and a shift in spending away from material goods and towards experiences.

The high street is also taking a buffeting from the fashion etailers, the astronomical growth of which shows no sign of abating. The influence of global chains such as Inditex and its competitor H&M is also keenly felt by smaller British retailers.