Fashion company Jacques Vert, which last month had its £17.8 million bid for clothing supplier William Baird accepted, on Monday reported a 180 per cent year-on-year leap in first half pre-tax profit.

The firm posted a profit of £1.7 million compared to £631,000 in the year-ago period with turnover climbing to £17.5m from £14.5m in 2001.

Vert said it was delighted with the results which in "difficult" market conditions and said it was off to strong start in the second half with total sales up 1.6 per cent and same-store sales up 0.7 per cent.

It added it has managed to maintain its first half margins by focusing on full-price selling and keeping discounting to minimum.