Home furnishings and fashion retailer Laura Ashley has posted a 0.4 per cent fall in like-for-like sales for the 52 weeks to 25 January 2014 after a “challenging” first half.
Profit was up 2 per cent to £20.5m but total group sales fell 1.4 per cent to £294.5m.
Tan Sri Dr. K P Khoo, Chairman, said the retail environment continued to be challenging.
“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,” he said. “These initiatives, together with the growth of our international franchise business, will remain our primary focus.”
“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.”
Its international franchise business, which spreads across Europe, the Middle-East, South America and Australia grew 4.2 per cent.
The retailer, which has over 200 UK stores, were accused by the Forum of Private Business of squeezing its suppliers this week by asking for an immediate cost price reduction of 10 per cent from suppliers including on orders already placed.
Laura Ashley said it had a “very strong and long-term relationships with our suppliers and always have done.”