Laura Ashley pins hopes on digital as profits fall
“Challenging conditions” have pushed annual profits down at Laura Ashley but the homeware and fashion group said its online business showed encouraging growth.
The listed company reported total sales of £257.2 million for the year to 30 June 2018, according to its results on the London Stock Exchange.
This was down by almost £20 million from a year earlier.
Profit before tax and exceptional items fell from £8.4 million to £5.6 million.
The company blamed its performance on challenging trading conditions throughout the 12-month period.
But Laura Ashley chairman Khoo Kay Peng said he was encouraged by the progress and continued growth being made by the company’s online business.
Online sales were up 4.1 per cent on a like-for-like basis and online revenues for the year grew to almost £60 million.
The company also continued to build its online presence in China and is now trading onT Mall Global, JD.com and Little Red Book.
In a statement on the London Stock Exchange, Khoo Kay Peng also revealed that Laura Ashley would be “launching a new digital platform in the weeks to come”.
The businessman told shareholders that he remains “resolutely confident” in the underlying strength of the brand despite the challenging trading environment.
Laura Ashley operates around 160 stores across the UK.