Womenswear chain Mint Velvet has notched up sales in excess of £10m in its first year of trading and “exceeded expectations”, said managing director Liz Houghton.

She said Mint Velvet, which celebrates its first anniversary this month, “hit the ground running”.

“We hit on the right concept of relaxed glamour and luxury, of affordable but still luxurious casual­wear, and our sales have gone beyond our expectations,” she said.

Houghton said the chain was not yet profitable, as “all the money is going back into the business at the moment”.

Mint Velvet, aimed at women over 30, was launched to fill the gap after Principles closed. Houghton had been Principles’ brand director.

Mint Velvet is backed by Peter Davies, who previously headed up Principles. He tried to buy it out of administration but was thwarted by Debenhams. Houghton said she did not consider Debenhams’ relaunch of the Principles brand as competition as “it’s more formalwear” and added: “We’ve got a niche with our casualwear, and we’re doing something a little bit different.”

She said: “We’re finding our customers are shopping the whole collection, whether its jeans, leggings, silk prints or cashmere, and they’re buying into the whole idea.”

Mint Velvet debuted in 14 House of Fraser concessions, and now has 64 locations, including two stand­alone shops in Windsor and Chichester. Other concessions include John Lewis and Fenwick, and last week it opened in Ireland in House of Fraser and Arnotts.