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Laura Ashley fashion is frozen out

Laura Ashley has blamed the cold weather in March and April for weak fashion sales, which took the shine off a healthy performance from its home furnishings.

The retailer has been one of the high street's most robust performers over recent years but the poor trading on women's clothing dragged down underlying sales by 0.6 per cent over the 18 weeks to 1 June.

Laura Ashley said: "We have seen a strong performance and like-for-like growth in our home furnishings business but fashion has underperformed, partly due to the impact of unseasonal weather during the period."

This continued the weak showing from its clothing business, which suffered a 4.8 per cent fall in like-for-like sales over the year to the end of January.