Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group has unveiled a profit despite "challenging" high street conditions, in a period which saw it add several new brands to its portfolio.

The company, which is owned by retail billionaire Philip Day, has filed new accounts to Companies House showing a pre-tax profit of £81.2 million for the 18 months to August 25 2018.

Revenues for the period hit £935.8 million.

Core brands Peacocks and Edinburgh Woollen Mill both reported profits, bringing in £66.5 million and £32.1 million.
Jaeger, which was acquired by the group following its collapse in 2017, made a loss before tax of £3.86 million on a 12-month basis.

This was half the run rate loss of £7.1 million in the year prior to the brand's administration, and follows a period of heavy investment by EWM Group including the opening of seven new standalone stores and 11 concessions.

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Steve Simpson, chief commercial officer at the group, said: "In the face of a challenging retail environment, our commitment to the physical high street and relentless focus on our customers' wants and needs has enabled us to, again, stand out from the crowd."

Jaeger is one of a number of brands picked up by the group in the last few years, as it seeks to grow its luxury division.

It has also snapped up Austin Reed, Berwin, and the Calvetron Brands portfolio which includes Jacques Vert, Dash, Eastex and Windmoor.

Online fashion retailer MySale - previously backed by Mike Ashley and Sir Philip Green - has put itself up for sale, the company said.

Bosses will also undertake a "strategic review" to reduce debts and try to find a buyer - with no suitors yet to be identified.

MySale's value has plummeted since its joined the junior AIM stock market in 2014 - going from being worth £340 million to less than £10 million.

In a major retrenchment, the company said it was focusing on an "Australia and New Zealand First" strategy - selling off its US and UK divisions, including website cocosa.co.uk to discount retailer Brandalley.

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Sales have also been falling due to new tax changes in Australia - its biggest market - and the company admitted its offering was not up to scratch. Sales and profits are expected to fall, it added.

In a statement, the company said: "The group has continued to experience challenging trading conditions in Australia, its largest market, primarily due to the market disruption caused by changes to GST regulation introduced in July 2018, exacerbated by the group's product mix, international cost base and inventory location.

"This has had and continues to have a negative impact on the group's financial performance, with declines in revenue, gross profit and gross margin."

Shares have been suspended and the company is now in an official takeover period.

Mobile network operator EE has been fined £100,000 by the UK's data watchdog for sending millions of direct marketing messages to its customers without consent.

An investigation by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) found that the BT-owned company sent more than 2.5 million text messages in early 2018, encouraging customers to download its My EE app and to upgrade their phone, as well as a follow-up text to those who did not react to the first one.

According to the ICO, EE argued that the communications were sent as service messages and were therefore not covered by rules on electronic marketing.

The watchdog's guidelines state that electronic marketing can only be sent to existing customers who have given consent and if a simple way to opt out of marketing is provided.

"These were marketing messages which promoted the company's products and services," said Andy White, ICO director of investigations.

An EE spokesman said: "We accept the ICO's findings, and we're working to improve our internal processes.

"We're committed to ensuring our customers are fully aware of their options throughout the life of their contract, and we apologise to the customers who received these messages."