Pre-tax profits at Laura Ashley fell in the 52 weeks to 30 January, from £22.9m in the previous year to £20.7m.
Like-for-like retail sales were up 4.8%, which Chairman Tan Sri Dr Koo Kay Peng said he was pleased with, adding that he was particularly proud of the performance in the furnishing retailer‘s Home Accessories category, where a focus on “innovation, quality and design” contributed to an 8.7% rise in like-for-like sales.
Franchise and licensing revenue in the international business fell 28% due to a rise in local sales tax in Japan, a weak Japanese yen, and a weakened domestic economy, the Welsh chain said.
The company‘s profit also took a hit from a £1.3m exceptional charge in relation its licensing partner in Australia falling into voluntary administration.
“We will continue to work with our overseas partners following a challenging year for our international business,” said Pend. “The acquisition of our Asian Headquarters in Singapore signals our commitment to the overseas business channel. Our plans for continued international growth remain central to our strategy as a worldwide Brand.
We remain optimistic for the future and are confident that the strength of the Brand and the enduring appeal of our product ranges mean we are well positioned for continued growth.”