Laura Ashley said that performance was also hit by new openings near to existing stores.
Total retail sales for the period were up 7.9% because of new store openings. 12 shops opened and two store closed during the 17 weeks from February.
Margins were ahead by just under two percentage points.
Laura Ashley's franchising and licensing sales reported marginal declines but mail order and internet sales were up 8.1%.
Laura Ashley said in a statement that despite the difficult trading outlook, it expected pre-tax profit for the financial year ended January 31 2009.