Profits at Laura Ashley plunged by 72 per cent last year, with the fashion and homeware retailer attributing it to challenging trading conditions and the devaluation of the sterling since the Brexit vote.
For the 52-week period ending June 30, the retailer said pre-tax profit tumbled from £22.8 million to £6.3 million, although its comparable 2016 numbers ran over 74 weeks.
Like-for-like sales also fell 3.1 per cent and total group sales plummeted by 30 per cent to £277 million.
On the other hand, while online revenue dropped from £73.5 million to £57.3 million – again when compared to 2016’s 74-week period – online sales were up 5.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis.
As well as challenging trading, Laura Ashley said the closure of 22 concessions in Homebase during the period also had an impact on sales.
“Trading conditions have been challenging for the year ended 30 June 2017,” chairman Khoo Kay Peng said.
“The impact of weak sterling has also contributed to the overall fall in profit which the group has experienced.”
Despite this, the retailer insisted that online sales were heading in the right direction, and its international expansion into India and China was making good progress.
“We are focussed on addressing the challenges which our business has encountered over the past year and are confident that we are well-positioned to overcome them,” Khoo Kay Peng said.