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Laura Ashley profits rise despite like-for-like declines

Laura Ashley has posted a profit of £20.5m for the year to January 25, up 2% on the previous year as the lifestyle business begins its turnaround.

Total group sales dropped 1.4% to £294.5m, with like-for-likes down 0.4% for the period. The international franchise arm rose 4.2%.

Chairman Tan Sri Dr. K P Khoo said: “I am encouraged that, despite a challenging first half, we have seen good like-for-like sales growth during the second half. We will continue with the progress we have made in developing our brand, growing our product ranges, improving our systems and enhancing our online business. These initiatives, together with the growth of our international franchise business, will remain our primary focus.

 “The retail environment continues to be both competitive and challenging but we are confident that the quality of our product ranges, the enduring appeal of our great British brand and the loyalty of our many worldwide customers will enable us to make further progress in growing the business.”

Trading for the first two months of the current financial year was “encouraging” he added, with like-for-likes up 2%.

“We believe that this progress can be maintained,” said Khoo.

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