Fashion and home products retailer Laura Ashley has posted a 119 per cent rise in profits for its full-year period, results released today reveal.
Total group sales increased 6.2 per cent during the 52 weeks to January 29th, whilst like-for-like (LFL) sales grew 5.6 per cent compared to its last financial year.
All product categories saw gains during the last 12 months, with furniture trade the most improved with LFL sales 7.2 per cent above last year.
Tan Sri Dr. K P Khoo, Chairman of Laura Ashley, said: “I am delighted to announce such a strong set of results in what continues to be a challenging retail market.
“LFL sales growth was recorded across all product categories, and all business channels improved profitability. We are also pleased that, in a fragile global economy, our franchise sales grew by 18 per cent.”
Fashion sales showed the smallest growth of any of Laura Ashley’s segments, up just 1.7 per cent LFL but online sales are becoming increasingly important to the retailer with e-commerce trade growing 45 per cent year-on-year.
Profit before taxation and excluding exceptional gains rose 91 per cent to £19.3 million, whilst when exceptional gains are counted in profits totalled £24.1 million - an increase of 119 per cent.
With gross margin rate maintained, £38.5 million in cash on the balance sheet and adjusted earnings per share of 1.99p per share, the company looks well set despite market conditions being tough.
Dr. K P Khoo added: “Since the beginning of February, we have seen a decline in our performance which we attribute to a general weakening in the consumer economy.
“We believe that our strong product offer and brand, robust balance sheet and continued operational efficiencies give us a sound base to face the tough outlook ahead.”