Strong demand for its Country Casuals Petite and Austin Reed casual wear ranges has pushed up first half profits at Austin Reed. The UK clothing retailer said its pre-tax profits rose 8 per cent to £2.7 million from £2.5 million.

Turnover rose 3 per cent to £60.3 million from £58.4 million, while revenues from its international licensing activities fell to £1 million from £1.2 million.

Austin Reed said it remains cautious, adding that overall sales in the first five weeks of the second half dropped 11 per cent.