Profits at Sir Philip Green’s retail empire plunged last year as the business struggled against a “challenging” environment on the UK high street.
Profits at Taveta Investments, the holding company behind a host of high street brands including Topshop, fell by 42% from £215.2 million to £124.1 million.
Total sales at the group dropped 5.6% in the year to August 26 2017, sliding from £2.01 billion to £1.91 billion.
Chief executive Ian Grabiner said: “The retail environment remains highly competitive and challenging.
“Whilst we have found headline sales and profits disappointing, we remain a strongly cash generative business and had a positive net cash balance at year end of £157.2 million.”
Mr Grabiner said the business is continuing to invest in its distribution network, and plans to open a new distribution centre in Daventry next year.
Capital expenditure for the year totalled £124.9 million, up from £97.8 million the year before.
The future of Sir Philip’s high street brands, known as Arcadia Group, was thrown into doubt this year after reports alleged the billionaire was trying to sell the business to Chinese textiles firm Shandong Ruyi.
Arcadia owns a string of prominent high street clothing brands including Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Burton Menswear, Miss Selfridge, Outfit, Evans and Wallis.
Sir Philip, who MPs branded the “unacceptable face of capitalism” after his doomed sale of BHS, denied he was trying to sell Arcadia.
Frank Field, the MP who spearheaded the parliamentary investigation into BHS’ collapse, asked Sir Philip for reassurances on the Arcadia pension scheme in the event of any sale.
Taveta’s figures show the group’s pension liability fell last year from £426.8 million to £300 million, a drop of 42%, after the group made contributions to the pension scheme.
The pressure on the billionaire came after he was lambasted by MPs over the collapse of department store chain BHS, which he sold for £1 to Dominic Chappell.
Sir Philip made a payment of £363 million towards BHS’ pension scheme after promising MPs he would “sort” its deficit.