Laura Ashley pre-tax profits rise
Excluding gains from exceptional items, pre-tax profits rose 5.2%% to £10.1m. Total group sales increased by £7.9m to £268.4 million (52 weeks) compared to the previous year's £260.5m (53 weeks).
Total UK store sales were up 3.1% to £213.5m 3.0% up on a like-for-like basis while internet sales grew by 30.0% to £22.1m. Gross margin declined by 1.8 percentage points against last year mainly due to the weakness of sterling and planned promotional activity. Operating expenses decreased by 3.2% to £104.3m due to successful cost-control measures.
Commenting on the results, Tan Sri Dr. K P Khoo, Chairman, said: "This has been another year of continued revenue growth for Laura Ashley despite a difficult market. I am encouraged to see the strong like-for-like growth across all categories, particularly Furniture, and to see the important role that E-commerce continues to play in driving growth. 2009 witnessed a period of consolidation in the marketplace following the uncertainties of 2008. Customer confidence is returning but is tempered with a degree of caution. Laura Ashley is confident that its strong balance sheet, strong brand and distinctive product offering will provide a platform for continued growth in 2010."
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