Scottish cashmere firm Dawson International Plc says sales and profits will be ahead of market expectations for the year, after its business was boosted by high margin sales to couture customers.

The Kinross-based company said a strong final quarter for both its UK and US Knitwear businesses more than offset weakness in its Home Furnishings unit.

The company operates the Barrie knitwear business in the UK, which designs and manufactures for some of the world's top international fashion designers.

And its US cashmere distribution company, Dawson Forté Cashmere, sources cashmere garments for US private label retail programmes and its own branded collection called Kinross.

The firm said its US knitwear business sustained sales and margins through the final quarter in spite of the fragile US economic environment.

In particular, it noted, in-season sales of branded lines and overall margin levels were both stronger than expected.