US move to help bolster business
Fashion retailer Marchpole, which designs and produces clothing for brands such as Yves Saint Laurent and Emanuel Ungaro, said first-half profits more than halved amid difficult trading conditions.

Pre-tax profit fell to£1 million in the 6 months to October 1, compared with£2.6 million the previous year. Turnover fell to£14.9 million from£15.7 million.

Marchpole chairman Christopher Phillips said: 'Despite difficult trading conditions in some of our markets, I am optimistic that the results for the full year will show an improvement in profitability on last year.

The group announced that the order book for spring/summer is£15.6 million. Phillips added: 'On the basis of our current order book and sales projections, we expect the existing business to achieve profits before tax for the full year in excess of last year.'

It is hoped that the recent acquisition of US brand Moda America will help offset other performances. 'We are confident that our new brands, together with the Moda acquisition, will more than compensate for any loss of YSL revenues from 2007/ 2008,' said Phillips.