Aurora Fashions, the group behind the Coast, Karen Millen, Oasis and Warehouse fashion brands, has strengthened its senior management team in preparation for further growth after posting a 36% rise in first-half earnings.

"I am delighted that our successful performance last year has continued into the first half of 2010," chief executive Mike Shearwood noted today (8 November). "As a result, we are now accelerating the next phase of our strategic growth plans."

The company said earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) climbed to GBP17.8m (US$28.7m) in the six months to 31 July. Like-for-like sales rose 5% and online sales soared 34% during the period.

Aurora, which was salvaged from the defunct Mosaic Fashions empire, opened 37 new stores in the half-year - taking its total to 1,508 stores in 46 countries - and booked global retail sales totalling GBP362m.

The company has also hired managing directors for each of its four brands for the first time.

The new team is made up of Margaret McDonald, the former CEO of LK Bennett, who replaces Liz Evans as MD of Coast. Evans is moving to take over as MD of Oasis.

Meg Lustman, formerly the group's chief strategy officer, is promoted to MD of Warehouse, and Gemma Metheringham and Steve Price will now be joint MDs of Karen Millen.

The strong growth at Karen Millen has also prompted the appointment of a dedicated finance director, human resources director and a supply chain director, with all three positions reinforcing the brand's independent management team.

The group has also appointed Hash Ladha, formerly marketing and operations director at Asos, to the role of group multi-channel director.

Aurora says that despite the "ongoing challenging economic conditions," it is on track to deliver significant growth on the last financial year.