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Laura Ashley profits impacted by weak pound

Fashion and homewares retailer Laura Ashley has seen its full year pre-tax profit decline after the company experienced “challenging” trading conditions and was hit by the impact of weak sterling.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Laura Ashley profits impacted by weak pound

In the 52 weeks to 30 June 2017, total group sales were £277 million compared with £400.9 million in a 74-week period last year. Like-for-like sales fell by 3.1% over the same period.

Group pre-tax profit excluding exceptional items was £8.4 million compared to £24.7 million in last year’s 74-week period. Statutory pre-tax profit fell to £6.3 million from a previous £22.8 million.

Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Peng, Laura Ashley chairman, said: “We are focused on addressing the challenges which our business has encountered over the past year and are confident that we are well-positioned to overcome them.

“Our online performance continues to be strong and we saw like-for-like online revenues grow by 5.6% over the year. Customer responses to the improvements we have made to our multi-channel offer have been positive and we are committed to its ongoing enhancement and development.”

The company said it was focusing on a “strong and expanding” international presence. Earlier this year, it signed a new license partner in India and will open its first Indian stores next month. In addition, it launched a Chinese website in November.

Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Peng added: “Laura Ashley is known worldwide for high quality, beautifully designed products. 33% of our sales come from products manufactured in the UK. We are confident that the enduring nature and heritage of this much-loved British Brand as well as the execution of our business strategies, will help position the group to grow and develop over the years to come."

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