Casual clothing retailer White Stuff has unveiled strong sales growth in defiance of the downturn, as it seeks an investor to fuel its expansion plans.

Sales rose 39 per cent to£43.8 million in the year to April 26. During the year the retailer opened eight stores, taking its store total to 49. Operating profits were£6.9 million on a 7 per cent rise in like-for-like sales.

White Stuff chief executive Sally Bailey said: “These are excellent results delivered against the backdrop of a difficult year for retail. All avenues to market – wholesale, retail and home shopping – increased sales and margin on the year.”

The figures from White Stuff were announced as KPMG today sends out sale information to potential buyers. Bailey wants further investment to finance a goal of having 75 stores in the UK within three years. White Stuff also has plans for international expansion and growth in the home shopping arm.

“We want to secure a minority investment from the private equity community,” said Bailey.

White Stuff founders George Treves and Sean Thomas want to reduce their 80 per cent stake in the company, but it is unclear by how much. The retailer is thought to be worth about£80 million.