• FY profit up 26% to GBP71.3m
  • Sales drop 2.6% to GBP551.9m
  • Plans to open 100 stores over next two years
Edinburgh Woollen Mill operates 1,000 stores across the UK

Edinburgh Woollen Mill operates 1,000 stores across the UK

UK clothing retailer Edinburgh Woollen Mill is to continue with its expansion plans by opening 100 new stores over the next two years, after booking record annual profits.

The owner of the Peacocks, Jane Norman and Ponden Mill chains said pre-tax profit reached GBP71.3m (US$111.8m) for the year ending 1 March, compared to GBP56.7m in the same period of the prior year.

Although combined sales dropped 2.6% to GBP551.9m from GBP566.7m a year before, underlying year-on-year sales were positive when adjusted for permanent and temporary store closures and a 53-week trading year in 2013. Like-for-like sales across the group, which operates over 1,000 stores across the UK, were positive.

Peacocks saw total sales rise 4% to GBP324.9m, with like-for-like sales positive and online sales jumping 221%. The business received an GBP80m investment following its acquisition out of administration in 2012.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill's online sales grew 28%, thanks to its click and collect service, with the potential for growth over the next few years being massive, it noted.

"Alongside a truly multi-channel model, continued investment, innovation and strong cost control, the group has once again delivered a strong sales performance and outstanding profit growth," said group commercial director Steve Simpson.

"We are particularly encouraged by the sales and profit performance of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill business, which has grown consistently to become a category leader in the over 40s customer segment.

"Leveraging its strength into a broader demographic, both at home and overseas, in store as well as online, is a key focus of the group in 2015 and beyond."