They were once decried for their sensible shoes and unfashionable fleeces.

But if the growing popularity of outdoor pursuits is anything to go by,  it seems we are embracing - and changing - the style of walkers and hikers.

Budget outdoor chain Mountain Warehouse today reported plans for more stores and a rise in profits. And it seems that music festivals such as T in the Park and Glastobury are helping the sector's sales, with Mountain Warehouse reporting a doubling of tent sales in the last year.

Cold weather is also good for the outdoor clothes market, as people stock-up on fleeces and boots.

And continuing economic woes mean more people choose to holiday in the UK, according to the company.

The retailer plans to open another 20 stores over the next financial year to boost its current network of 160.

Chief executive Mark Neale, who founded the business 15 years ago, said: "Outdoor activity is definitely more popular than ever. And the weather has been pretty favourable to us. We like a bit of cold and wet because we sell stuff to keep you warm and dry.

"Despite all the talk about the death of the high street, in our experience there is still plenty of life in many towns up and down the country."

The chain sells more than eight million items annually, including items for running and cycling.