Aug 17, 2016
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Laura Ashley sales grow on furniture and home accessories

Aug 17, 2016

UK homeware and fashion retailer Laura Ashley has announced its final results for the 74 weeks ended 30 June 2016.

Photo: Laura Ashley

The company is changing its financial year-end from January 31 to June 30, resulting in some discrepancies in the report. In the 74-week period, the company generated sales of £400.9m, up by 4.1% on a like-for-like basis compared with the 53 week period last year.
Revenue from online sales increased to £73.5m, compared with £48.5m in the prior year’s period. In a like-for-like basis, e-commerce sales grew by 15.7%.

In the UK, Laura Ashley recorded sales of £363.2m boosted by the Furniture and Home Accessories segments. The Decorating and Fashion categories fell by 1.2% and 3.9% but were up on a like-for-like basis, reflecting the impact of a reduced property portfolio.

The retailer opened five stores during the reporting period, but closed eighteen stores, reducing total selling space by 4.2%.

The company said it has started to partner with selected British retailers to give broader exposure to its fashion ranges.

Revenue from international operations was below expectations, reflecting primarily the performance of a sluggish Japanese market and also due to continued political instability and economic difficulties in other territories. In the period, Laura Ashley said Franchise and Licensing revenue stood at £30.7m.

“I am happy that the Company has signed a new licence partner for Australia and am confident that the business opportunity there will be optimised. Such partnership opportunities, in new territories, will continue to be explored and developed,” said Chairman Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Peng.

“The Company will continue to focus on enhancing the design and quality of its product ranges upon whose provenance the Brand has been built. In a time of uncertainty for retail and the global economy at large, I am optimistic and confident that Laura Ashley will remain a business with solid foundations to withstand challenges as they arise," he added.

Profit before tax and exceptional items increased to £25.8m in the 74 weeks, compared with £22.9m in the prior 53 week period.

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