Laura Ashley warns on full year results
Fashion and homewares retailer Laura Ashley has said its full year performance is likely to be below market expectations following difficult trading conditions in its first half.
The company made a loss of £1.5 million including exceptional items in the 26 weeks to 31 December.
Total sales fell to £122.9 million from a previous £134.7 million. The decline was mainly due to the closure of four stores in the period and the termination of a master licence agreement in Japan.
Meanwhile, UK like-for-like retail sales fell by 4.2%. This included a 14.4% decline in like-for-like furniture sales although home accessory and fashion sales rose by 1.5% and 11.8% respectively on a like-or-like basis.
At the end of the period Laura Ashley operated 156 stores in the UK.
Laura Ashley chairman Andrew Khoo said: "Trading conditions have been difficult during the first six months of the year to 31 December 2018.
“Given the continued market turbulence and having reviewed the revised management forecast for the second half year, the board now holds the view that the performance for the entire year will fall short of market expectations.”
The company signed a new master licence agreement in Japan with Itochu Corporation in the period as it looks to grow its presence in the country. In addition, it opened new stores in India and Thailand through franchise partners.
Laura Ashley said it has recently launched a new digital platform which it expects to help improve online sales in the coming years.
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