Outlook less than rosy at Laura Ashley as sales drop 4.2%

Tough high street conditions see fashion and home brand having to overhaul its strategy

The Laura Ashley store in Grafton Street, Dublin. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

The Laura Ashley store in Grafton Street, Dublin. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Sales at Laura Ashley have dropped as the fashion and home brand grapples with tough high street conditions and plans an overhaul of its strategy.

Like-for-like retail sales were down 4.2 per cent in the second half of last year, and profit before tax and exceptional items was wiped out to zero.

Sales in the fashion division showed positive momentum, climbing 11.8 per cent on a like-for-like basis, but furniture sales dropped by 14.4 per cent, while decorating was down 13.5 per cent.

In December, the chain revealed it will cut around 40 more sites as part of an ongoing strategy to slim down the estate.

It comes after Andrew Khoo succeeded his father Khoo Kay Peng as chairman of Laura Ashley’s owner last year, with a fresh vision for the brand which includes expansion in China and developing the hospitality segment of the business.

Shares in the company were trading around 4 per cent weaker as analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald cut their expectations for the company.

– PA