German fashion house, Jil Sander, has reported a 19.5 per cent increase in net profit and a 16.3 per cent rise in sales since it was taken over by Prada - the biggest increase since 1996.

Prada chief executive, Patrizio Bertelli, wants to build Prada into a fashion giant to rival LVMH Moet-Hennessy Louis Vuitton.

In the first set of full-year results since Prada acquired the company, net profit rose to EUR4.9 million last year from EUR4.1 million, while sales increased to EUR 134.8 million from EUR 115.9million the year before.

Bertelli is already predicting that sales this year will be higher than last and orders for the fall/winter collections this year are higher than the previous year.

One of the most respected designers of her era, Jil Sander left the company after Prada bought a 52 per cent share in the label.

Bertelli is said to be concentrating on cutting costs, boosting efficiency and transforming the label into an international brand.

By Deborah Bowyer.