Pre-tax losses at Liberty have increased in the first six months of the year as the iconic department store continues to invest in its Liberty of London brand.

Total revenue was up 6 per cent to£21.7 million in the six months to June 30, up from£20.5 million in the previous year.

However, losses before tax at Liberty increased to£4.2 million, from£2.2 million in the comparable period.

During the first half, the retailer opened its standalone Liberty of London store on London’s Sloane Street, showcasing the Liberty’s own-label luxury accessories brand.

Costs for the brand rose during the period to£2 million from just under£1.6 million the year before. As a result of the investment and one-off restructuring costs of£0.9 million, EBITDA was at a loss of£2.7 million compared with a£1.3 million loss in the same period in 2007.

Liberty’s balance sheet, supported by its Great Marlborough Street flagship store in London, is valued at£31.5 million. Sales at the store rose to£16.7 million.

Liberty chairman Richard Balfour-Lynn said the store’s success “against a backdrop of difficult trading conditions in the retail sector” was helped by a programme of reorganisation at the retailer to include a new buying team.

James Bradbury, who has done stints at Harrods and Jenners, has joined Liberty as retail operations director. Former Pringle head of international sales Fabio Guidetti will assume the role of sales and distribution director for Liberty of London in the autumn.

Sales at Liberty’s wholesale fabrics division rose 15 per cent to£7.6 million.

Balfour-Lynn added: “While it is difficult to gauge our performance going forward in the present retail market and general economic uncertainty, I believe the entire Liberty business is better placed than ever to deliver a performance that reflects its inherent potential as well as its extensive history.”

Liberty of London opens first standalone store