"July and August were very buoyant ... and, provided this continues throughout the autumn ... I believe we can be optimistic about the outcome for 1998," John Church, the chairman, said. Jones, the UK retail company, produced a 7 per cent improvement in profits, the company said.
Last month the group opened a second shop in Covent Garden, London, and openings are scheduled soon for Trafford Park, Manchester, and Oxford. Profits also rose at the UK manufacturing companies Church & Co (Footwear) and Joseph Cheaney & Sons.
The interim dividend has been lifted by 9 per cent, 3.5p to 3.8p.