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Laura Ashley profits surge 9.2%

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Furniture & fashion retailer Laura Ashley has seen pre-tax profit in its full year reach £20.1 million, up 9.2 per cent on last year as its online and international operations continue to grow, it has been announced today.

In the 52 weeks to January 26th 2013, total group sales rose 4.5 per cent to £298.8 million while total sales in the UK increased 3.1 per cent to £263 million.

Like-for-like (LFL) sales climbed two per cent over the period thanks to LFL growth across most categories the retailer said, significant news following its move to strengthen its product offering with the launch of a menswear collection announced in January.

Online sales surged 19.6 per cent in the year, contributing 16 per cent of total UK retail sales, up from 13.8 per cent during the same period last year.

Laura Ashley’s international franchise business reported growth of 13.3 per cent, now operating from 266 franchise stores across 28 countries and the retailer has signed with franchise partners in Poland, Armenia and the Baltic states since the year end while maintaining partnerships in China, India, South America and South Africa.

As it continues to invest in expansion, the retailer announced that its upcoming boutique hotel will be officially launched “in a matter of weeks” and it is hoped that the move will boost profit in the years ahead.

Achieving a LFL sales rise of 2.7 per cent in the initial two months of its new financial year, Laura Ashley, which was criticised earlier this week by the Forum of Private Business over changes to supplier terms, is confident that progress can continue in the coming months.

Laura Ashley Chairman Tan Sri Dr. K P Khoo said: “I am pleased that we have maintained the progress of recent years and delivered another strong set of results.

“We are confident that, despite an extremely competitive retail sector and a challenging consumer environment, both our business and brand are able to continue the steady and robust progress of recent years.

“As we continue to expand both globally and online, we believe that our quality product ranges, based on sixty years of innovative design and a rich brand heritage, underpin the foundations of our future growth.”

Published on Thursday 28 March by Editorial Assistant

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