Womenswear business refocuses on retail
Womenswear retailer Jacques Vert notched up a 76 per cent increase in profits last year after resolving long-running problems and refocusing on its retail division.

Pre-exceptional profit from continuing operations climbed to£5.4 million and retail sales rose 5.4 per cent to£114.9 million.

The sale of the Melka Tenson wholesale business and an agreement to wind up the Baird pension scheme were milestones for the retailer, said chairman Derek Lovelock.

He said Jacques Vert's focus would be on 'exploiting the significant value in our portfolio of brands and exploring other strategic opportunities'.

Over the year, like-for-likes were ahead by 5 per cent, but in the 10 weeks since April 28 the figure was only 1.2 per cent.

Lovelock said: 'It is generally accepted that the retail climate continues to be weak. Nonetheless, progress since the year-end has been positive, with increases in total and like-for-like sales, which is a creditable achievement.'

Along with its eponymous brand, Jacques Vert also owns Windsmoor, Planet and Precis. The brands are sold in 950 shops in the UK, Ireland and Canada.