UK online fashion firm Boohoo today reported a better-than-expected jump in profit, bucking a tough market for clothing retailers helped by its PrettyYoungThing and Nasty Gal brands. 

The group, which targets 16 to 30-year-olds, reported a 49% rise in pretax profit to £76.3m for its year to the end of February. 

Revenue for the year rose 48% to £856.9m.

Shares in Boohoo, which recently hired John Lyttle from Primark to be its chief executive, rose 5% to a six-month high of 229 pence. 

Founded 14 years ago in Manchester, Boohoo has expanded rapidly, listing its shares in 2014 and buying the PrettyLittleThing and Nasty Gal brands in 2017. 

The firm is tapping in to younger consumers who shop on their mobile phones and share fashion tips via social media. 

Boohoo's results stand in contrast to several retailers with big store networks. 

Groups including New Look and Marks & Spencer are closing shops, while Debenhams collapsed into administration. 

Associated British Foods' fashion chain Primark fared better with a 25% rise in first-half operating profit.

Boohoo is also outperforming its longer established online rival ASOS, which reported an 87% drop in first-half profit this month. 

PrettyLittleThing was the jewel in the group's crown, with revenue more than doubling to £374.4m and set to overtake the main Boohoo brand in UK market share this year. 

Revenue at Nasty Gal rose 96% to £47.9m while Boohoo saw revenue rise 16% to £434.6m. 

Lyttle said he was "very excited to have joined the Boohoo Group at this key stage of its growth".

He said the company was well-positioned to "disrupt, gain market share and capitalise on what is a truly global opportunity". 

Boohoo said trading in the first few weeks of its new year had been encouraging.

It said it expected revenue to grow 25-30%, with an adjusted core earnings margin of around 10% and capital expenditure of £50-60m.