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Laura Ashley warns on profits

Laura Ashley has warned that a “very demanding” third quarter will lead to full-year results “significantly below market expectation”. 

In a short announcement issued today (25 April), the retailer advised: “Trading conditions have been very demanding over the third quarter. The board of the company have reviewed the revised full-year forecasts for the year ended 30 June 2019 and expect the results to be significantly below market expectations.”

The lifestyle retailer warned that full-year performance would fall short of expectations after it failed to make a profit in the first half. It made no profit before tax and exceptional items in the 26 weeks to 31 December 2018, compared with a profit of £4.3m during the same period in 2017.

However, like-for-like fashion sales were up by 9.7% year on year and online sales were up 4.1% to £59.7m.

It will mark the second year of disappointing results for Laura Ashley. Profits before tax and exceptional items for the same period last year fell 33% to £5.6m.

In December, Laura Ashley announced plans to close almost a quarter of its UK stores. 

Florida-based investment firm Flacks Group made a bid of £20m for the business in February. At the time, Laura Ashley denied that a bid had been received.

Today marks the last day possible to strike a deal. There is no update from Laura Ashley. 

The business’s full-year results will be announced on 22 August 2019.

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