Laura Ashley profits to dive further after poor first half

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Laura Ashley

Fashion and furniture retailer Laura Ashley has warned investors that its pre-tax profits took a battering in the first half, dragging down expectations for its full-year results.

In the six months to December 31, Laura Ashley saw pre-tax profits dive 44.8 per cent to £4.3 million, while like-for-like sales dipped 0.5 per cent.

The steep drop, which has been attributed to “the weakening of the sterling”, will mean the full-year profits will come below expectations, the retailer cautioned.

“Trading conditions have continued to be challenging during the first six months of the year to 31 December 2017,” chairman Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Peng said.

“The impact felt due to the weakening of sterling, year on year, was the most significant single factor in the fall of profit before tax.

“The board have reviewed the first half results and forecasts for the remainder of the year to 30th June 2018 and, given the continued market challenges, considers that net pre-tax profit for the year will fall below market expectations.”

This follows similarly disappointing results in the prior year, seeing profits drop 72 per cent in the year to June 30 2017, while like-for-like sales also saw a 30 per cent drop to £277 million.

However, these results were skewed by a 74-week comparative in 2016.

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