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Laura Ashley like-for-like sales down 10%

Total stores sales at Laura Ashley rose 9.7% for the 20 weeks to December 13 due to store openings, but were down almost 10% on a like-for-like basis.

The company said tough trading conditions in the current economic climate, combined with the effects of new store openings on existing stores, affected UK like-for-like sales.

Over the period total UK store sales increased by 9.7% against the same period last year due to the increase in retail selling space.

In a bid to to re-align the Laura Ashley store portfolio, the retailer opened nine stores and closed three shops in the UK over the period.

Laura Ashley's franchising and licensing business grew further over the period with plans to open 80 new franchise stores in China over the next five years underway.

Internet sales increased by 55% over the period, however the Laura Ashley mail order business was down by 26%.

A statement said: "Although the outlook remains extremely challenging, we will continue to focus on increasing revenue generation through our various channels, improving operational efficiencies, differentiating our product offering and continuing our store realignment programme. As a result of these actions, we expect trading to be broadly in line with the Board's expectations."

Laura Ashley has 231 stores in the UK.

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