Iconic London department store Liberty has reported that pre-tax losses widened slightly for the year to December 31, but sales rose 9 per cent to £50.2m.

For the full year, Liberty said pre-tax losses increased from £6.4m in 2007 to £7m. The group highlighted that large one-off costs such as the launch of its Liberty of London store on Sloane Street and major reorganisation expenses meant EBITDA slipped to a loss of £3.9m from a loss of £3.6m in 2007.

The retailer said the launch of its transactional website in July last year helped it report “excellent Christmas trading” and its Liberty Art Fabrics delivered 25 per cent sales growth and a 35 per cent EBITDA uplift.

Liberty chairman Richard Balfour-Lynn said: “We appreciate we are operating in a difficult and uncertain economic period. However, I am confident that investing during these challenging times to refocus our identity will considerably improve our ability to achieve our vision and create value for shareholders.”

Liberty reported menswear was up 6 per cent and beauty up 5 per cent on the previous year. In the second half of this year, it plans to build on the range of exclusive skincare and perfume offers available in its beauty hall.

The group said trading at its Liberty of London shop has been slower than anticipated, but it should be profitable “in the near future”.