Laura Ashley back in profit

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The Independent Online

Fashion and furnishing group Laura Ashley today showed it had pulled itself back into profit and shaken off the tough high street environment with better clothing sales.

Fashion and furnishing group Laura Ashley today showed it had pulled itself back into profit and shaken off the tough high street environment with better clothing sales.

The group posted a pre-tax profit for the 26 weeks to July 29 of £1.7 million against a loss last time of £7 million.

Chief financial officer Jim Bellingham said it was the first time the company had made a profit for three years.

Last year's figures were hit by losses at its North American retail business, which it sold in July last year.

Mr Bellingham said this year's improvement was also due to selling more clothes at full price, while the group had also successfully extended its range.

"But the star as far as we are concerned is home furnishing, due to extending the range to include all aspects of decorating and furnishings," he added.

"The other major development is to continue to refit and refurbish our stores."

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