Laura Ashley has announced its results for the 53 weeks to 31st January 2015. Total group sales were up 3.1% to £303.6m, with like-for-like sales up 1.3%, and an online growth of 8.6%.
Total furniture sales decreased by 0.3% (like-for-like +0.5%), which the group sees as "encouraging in an increasingly competitive market". Sales of home accessories increased by 3.5% (like-for-like +4.8%) while decorating – curtains, blinds, fabric, paint, decorative accessories and wallcoverings – sales fell by 1.5% (like-for-like -0.9%).
Commenting on the results, Tan Sri Dr. K P Khoo, chairman, says: "Set against the ongoing challenges of a competitive retail sector, I am pleased to report year on year increases of 3.1% in sales and 14.6% in profit before taxation. I am particularly pleased with our strong online growth and the enhancements made to our digital platform. This gives us the ability to showcase our distinctive products and bring our iconic British brand to a broader, worldwide consumer base. I am also very proud that over 35% of all retail Home sales come from products manufactured in the UK.
"We are committed to developing and growing the international franchise, licensing and online business as well as focussing on giving a high quality, multi-channel experience to our domestic and international customers.
"We are optimistic that the growth of recent years will continue as we develop, grow and improve our product ranges and optimise our business model. The strength and appeal of our Brand, allied to the enduring loyalty of our many worldwide customers, gives us confidence for future growth."
Retail space fell by 3.2% as the UK store portfolio decreased by four from 209 to 205. Laura Ashley's Interior Design Service has continued to evolve, the turnover generated growing by 10% over last year.