London: Despite their on-pitch travails last season, Manchester United on Wednesday announced a 19% rise in annual revenue to a record £433.2 million ($698.8 million, 539.6 million euros).
United floundered in their first season after the retirement of long-serving manager Alex Ferguson, finishing seventh in the Premier League and sacking his successor, David Moyes, but they continued to thrive commercially.
Helped by a blockbuster £750 million 10-year deal with Adidas, the club reported a 49 percent increase in sponsorship revenue.
Overall profit fell sharply, from £146.4 million to £23.9 million, but mainly because United had received a one-off tax credit from American assets worth £155 million in the previous year.
"We are very proud of the results achieved in fiscal year 2014 as we once again generated record revenues," said executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward in a statement.
"With Louis van Gaal at the helm as manager, and the recent signing of some of the world's leading players to further strengthen our squad, we are very excited about the future and believe it's the start of a new chapter in the club's history.
"Louis's footballing philosophy fits very well with Manchester United and he has an impressive track record of success throughout his career, winning league titles with every club he has managed."
Partly due to their non-participation in the Champions League, United expect their income to fall to between £385 million and £395 million over the course of the current season.
They invested around £150 million on new players during the close-season transfer window, including a British-record £59.7 million swoop for Argentina international winger Angel di Maria.
The figures released on Wednesday also revealed that United paid out £5.2 million in compensation to former Everton manager Moyes, who was dismissed in April, and some members of his coaching staff.
United are without a win after three Premier League games this season and were knocked out of the League Cup following a 4-0 loss to third-tier Milton Keynes Dons.
- Third-place target -
But they could hand debuts to new signings Radamel Falcao, Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind in Sunday's home game with Queens Park Rangers.
In a conference call with investors, Woodward said that United's target for the season was a top-three finish in the Premier League.
"Our budgets assume a third-place finish, as is ordinarily the case," he said.
"The 2013-14 season was a very challenging and disappointing one. But under Louis there is a real feeling at the training ground that we are at the start of something special."
Woodward also played down the chances of United spending heavily in the January transfer window.
"We don't intend to significantly increase cap-ex (capital expenditure) in January," he said.
"We will continue to monitor in association with Louis his view of the squad and which areas we want to strengthen and which areas we want to sell.
"The usual three in, three out is par for the course in the numbers in and out each year, typically in the summer."
United's wage bill has risen 19 percent to £214.8 million, which the club's annual report said was "primarily due to the impact of player acquisitions and renegotiated player contracts".