British luxury label Hardy Amies has narrowed its first half losses on rising sales, and said the foundations are now in place to grow turnover more markedly in the second half of 2007 and into 2008.

The company, which is the last remaining English haute couture house based on London's Savile Row, said pre-tax losses fell to GBP372,252 (US$751,386) in the six months to 30 June, from a loss of GBP1.25m in the same period last year. 

Turnover rose by 8.9% to GBP728,531 from GBP£668,940, driven by wholesale sales of its new men's wear range.

Retail and wholesale turnover in the period grew 60% to GBP421,585 from GBP263,205. Its licensing income, however, fell 24% to GBP306,948 from GBP405,735 last year.

Women's couture sales rose by 35%, and the company said it is close to unveiling its first ready-to-wear women's wear collection.

Over the past year the business has focused on core growth areas to position it as a significant couture and fashion house.

Going forward, it hopes to open three or four retail units a year in the UK and is investing in its design teams to increase the size and scope of the women's wear and accessory ranges. 
The company, which received a GBP2.85m cash injection from its largest shareholder, Arev Brands Limited, last year, is also considering longer term funding options to accelerate growth beyond 2008.

This could include a rights issue next year, it said, although no final decisions have yet been made.