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Online sales boost Matalan profits

Matalan has reported pre-tax earnings of £100.4m for the year to February 28 - a 10.2% increase in earnings for the same period last year.

The value department store said much of this came from online sales, which grew 45% over the period, boosted by the roll out of Matalan’s click and collect channel.

The chain also reported a total revenue of £1.25bn for the year, up from £1.12bn in 2012.

Matalan plans to open its first overseas stores with a Middle Eastern franchise partner this year, as well as expanding its store portfolio in the UK. At the year end Matalan had 203 UK stores.

Despite the rise in revenue, the business remains “cautious” about the outlook for consumer spending and confidence and expects “challenging trading conditions to continue”.

However Darren Blackhurst, chief executive of Matalan, said that the retailer was “well positioned” for 2013.

“Our focus remains the delivery of outstanding value to our customers through the development of our offer and a tight control of costs and cash given the prevailing economic backdrop.”

Matalan said the start of the new financial year has been “challenging” but performace was broadly in line with expectations

The business ended the year with £120.7m in cash which allowed the group to pay down £45m of debt.

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