Oct 22, 2009
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Arcadia year profit up and debt reduced

Oct 22, 2009

LONDON (Reuters) - Arcadia, the fashion group owned by billionaire Philip Green, on Thursday 22 October posted a 13 percent increase in full-year profit along with solid current trading and said it had significantly cut its debt.

Topshop in New York

"In respect of the year ahead, I remain optimistic but cautious as I believe the market will remain challenging and price sensitive," Green, who did not pay himself a dividend for the fourth year running, said in a statement.

The group, which owns the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, Burton, Wallis, Dorothy Perkins and Evans brands, made a pretax profit of 213.6 million pounds for the year to August 29, up from 188.9 million pounds in the previous year.

That was achieved on sales up 2.7 percent at 1.90 billion pounds, despite what Green called "one of the most challenging retail landscapes that I have seen."

Sales at stores open at least a year were level on the previous year and were up 2.3 percent in the first seven weeks of the new financial year.

The group's year-end debt was 535.8 million pounds, a reduction of 159.3 million pounds.

Having completed the integration of department store chain Bhs in July, the enlarged group now operates from 3,115 owned and franchised outlets, trading in 34 countries.

That includes the first Topshop store in the United States, which opened in New York in April.

Arcadia also announced that Ian Grabiner would become CEO of the enlarged group.

Separately on Thursday 22 October, department stores group Debenhams (DEB.L) posted full-year profit towards the top end of expectations and said underlying sales had turned positive at the start of its new financial year.

(Reporting by James Davey, editing by Mark Potter)

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