The Pier's £1.8m proves recovery is right on track

The Pier returned to profitability last year, drawing a line under a four-year hiatus sparked by over-expansion.

Sales climbed from£34.8 million to£36.5 million in the year to February, delivering a pre-tax profit of£1.8 million, compared with an£11,000 loss the previous year.

Managing director Alison Richards said like-for-like sales increased by 3.9 per cent, with overall sales up 10.6 per cent, helped by openings at Dudley, Bristol and Basingstoke.

Margins improved and also benefited from the stronger pound against the US dollar.

The 28-store business owned by US retailer Pier 1 has set a target of 75 to 100 stores, with an opening at Gateshead's MetroCentre next month.

Store operations manager Elaine Philip has risen to store operations controller, with store development and visual merchandising duties.

- Retail Therapy: page 43.