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Existing stores impress as East profits rise 9.5%

Mainstream womenswear retailer East said it was “pleased” with a 5% rise in sales to £39m and a 9.5% pre-tax profit uplift to £2.27m for the year to January 31, 2011.

Chief operating officer Suzi Spink told Drapers the rise was due to a strong like-for-like performance from existing stores, particularly those which opened in 2007 in areas such as Amersham, Exeter and Ringwood which are now well established, as well as the success of last summer’s collection, which was boosted by the late warm weather.

In the accounts filed at Companies House, EBITDA remained level on the year before at £3m due to the increase in VAT to 20%, continued downward pressure on the pound and increased costs of material and labour in international markets.

The chain opened six standalone stores over the period.

East has added sites in Shrewsbury, Lewes, Wilmslow and concessions in Browns of Helmsley in North Yorkshire, Beales in Bournemouth and Austins in Newton Abbot, Devon. It plans to open stores in Harpenden in Hertfordshire and London’s Kensington High Street, and concessions in Elliots of Lymington and John Lewis in Stratford, east London, before the end of the year.

It has 85 outlets including 29 concessions, as well as its etail business.

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