Laura Ashley reports falling sales
Fashion and furniture retailer Laura Ashley has reported a fall in sales ahead of the key Christmas trading period.
In a statement, the group said that total retail sales had declined by 2% year-on-year in the 19 weeks of the second half to 7 December, with like-for-like sales edging down 0.7%. Online sales rose by 1% in the period.
For the full year to 7 December 2013, total sales have fallen by 2.1% with like-for-like sales decreasing by 1.6%.
The group added: “Christmas and January combined is a key trading time for the group, with much of the second half profitability generated during this period.”
Laura Ashley has opened two new UK stores this year and closed six. It has also launched 23 franchise stores overseas to take the total to 289.
The group said that it had signed some “significant” new licensing agreements this year which would benefit this year’s group profits despite licensing revenue being forecast to decline by 16%.
In September, Laura Ashley reported a fall in first half profits as sales were impacted by this year's cold spring weather and the subsequent summer heatwave.
In the 26 weeks to 27 July 2013, total group sales dropped 5.6% to £137.3 million while underlying pre-tax profits, excluding exceptional items, fell to £7.8 million from £8.3 million in the same period in the previous year.
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