Couture designer Paul Smith has reported an increase in pre-tax profits of 31 percent despite the economic downturn. As per the accounts filed in the Company House, the pre-tax profits rose from £20.9 million a year previously to a current £27.4 million.

The group continued to grow total sales across the retail, wholesale and licensed businesses, the company said in a statement.

Wholesale orders increased year on year, surpassing order levels achieved before the downturn. Retail sales benefited from new shop openings as well as increased sales on a like for like basis in existing shops and on the internet. Despite a very difficult year in the Japanese market, licensed income increased during the year, the statement said.

Collections by the designer are currently wholesaled to thirty five countries and have fourteen shops in England. Apart from this, the company also has a strong hold in Japan.

According to the Financial Times, the company even grew its Japanese licensing income by 5 percent despite a very difficult year with the earthquake and tsunami in March. Sir Paul sold a 40 percent stake to a Japanese licensee, Itochu, in 2006 but retained control.