Giorgio Armani, owner of the Italian fashion house Giorgio Armani SpA, has pledged to keep his company independent despite advances from larger rivals, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Armani saw a very healthy 2000 with sales, which increased by 20 per cent compared to last year, reaching two trillion lire ($973m). The group even recorded an increase in sales in the US, where sales for many retailers have been notoriously slow.