High-street retailer Austin Reed is still struggling to turn around its Country Casuals womenswear unit, despite sales at its core namesake chain reporting promising growth.

The group said that full-year same-store sales at Country Casuals plummeted eight per cent to £51.4 million. Austin Reed sales increased 7 per cent with the exception of its Regent Street store, which saw 18 per cent growth. Total annual was static at £111.5m.

Group pre-tax loss totalled £1.9m compared with £1.4m the year before. However, the company said that action implemented throughout the year pushed the business back into profitability in the second half.

For the first ten weeks of the new financial year total same-store sales dropped 6 per cent.

Austin Reed has been working on modernising the Country Casuals division to appeal to the changing tastes of the 40+ market.

Chief executive Nick Hollingworth said: "the full effect of repositioning this brand won't be seen until the second half of the financial year."