Ladies' wear retailer Hobbs Ltd, which went private last year, has reported a 38 per cent profit surge for 2004 as department store concessions saw especially strong sales.

For the year ended 29 January, pre-tax profits rose to £11.7 million while sales increased 30 per cent to £67m.

Sales have also met expectations for the first quarter of 2005, giving the company a positive outlook on carrying out its expansion plans by the close of the financial year.

Hobbs, which opened 21 new outlets last year, plans to increase its number of sites from 66 to 90 in 2005, and says it has already been approached by businesses to enter other global markets.