SUPERDRY owner SuperGroup has boosted annual profits and attempted to reassure investors who have seen shares tumble by more than a third since May.

The Cheltenham-based fashion retailer, which has 500 stores worldwide, said its underlying pre-tax profit grew 18.8 per cent to £62 million in the year to April 26, after the fashion retailer opened new stores in the UK and across Europe.

The business said total sales grew 19.6 per cent to £430.9m, while it increased its total retail space by 100,000 square.feet, or 18 per cent.

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The firm, founded by chief executive Julian Dunkerton from a market stall in Cheltenham in 1985, added 11 new stores in the UK and Ireland including outlets in the Newcastle Metro centre and Reading's Oracle centre.

In May, the company warned its profit would be at the lower end of expectations because of heavy discounting by rivals, a late Easter and a lack of spring stock in the fourth quarter of the year.

The business has suffered stock control problems in the past.

Mr Dunkerton said: "With a strong pipeline of new stores, particularly in mainland Europe, we are well positioned for further ­profitable growth in the year ahead."

The business bought back its Scandinavian distributor last month, which follows a similar deal with its German and Spanish concessions last year, giving SuperGroup greater control over its international expansion.

During the year the group opened 15 stores in Europe including larger-format stores in Amsterdam, Bruges and Aeroville in France with more expansion planned. Shares closed up 19p, or 1.8 per cent, at 1061p.