Laura Ashley celebrates as sales soar

Laura Ashley has cemented its status as one of the high street's best performers with a leap in sales ahead of the crucial Christmas period.

The retailer, which has 211 UK stores, has delivered strong sales in its second half in home-improvement categories, such as bed linen, curtains, lighting and cushions, which have outstripped broadly flat fashion revenues.

Laura Ashley, which has more than 250 franchised stores overseas, grew its total sales by 4.2 per cent over the 19 weeks to 8 December. This was ahead of City forecasts, while its sales rose 4.9 per cent on a like-for-like basis.

The group also revealed that online sales jumped by 22.6 per cent following the launch of a full mobile site as well as an increase in its deliveries overseas.