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East sales rise 5% in 2010

Mainstream womenswear retailer East posted a 5% rise in sales to £39m over 2010 driven by the strong performance of its existing portfolio and new store openings.

Pre-tax profits rose 9.5% from £2.1m to £2.27m for the year to January 31, 2011. EBITDA remained level on the year at £3m due to the increase in VAT to 17.5%, continued downward pressure on the pound and increased costs of material and labour in international markets.

The chain added six standalone stores over the period, including in Morpeth, Hereford and Market Harborough, and two concessions in Browns of Beverley and Roomes of Upminister. It now has a total of 85 outlets including 29 concessions, as well as its etail business.

East said a majority of new store openings were in the latter half of the year and it expects the full positive sale impact to be seen in 2011/12, although the one-off opening costs were incurred over 2010.

It added that it has exceeded profit targets over first quarter of this current financial year, and has further new store openings planned. It has already opened in Shrewsbury, Lewes and Wilmslow and has added concessions in Browns of Helmsley in York, Beales in Bournmouth and Austins, in Newton Abbot, Devon.

As reported in Drapers, East is planning to launch two new sub-brands, East Artisan and East Boutique, for autumn 11 after launching Beach Boutique and East at Home for spring 11. The new ranges aim to offer a wider variety of price points while also returning the company to its Asian-inspired roots.

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