Rare feat as online sales tumble at Laura Ashley

 

Laura Ashley managed to achieve a rare feat for the High Street today, recording a fall in online sales.

The label brought to an end a disappointing half year with a 5.6 per cent drop in sales to £137.3 million and pre-tax profits down 10.8 per cent to £7.4 million.

However, while most High Street rivals are managing some form of growth online, Laura Ashley saw sales fall 3.4 per cent to £19.7 million.

The weather — both hot and cold — was partly blamed for the poor results, which saw shares crash more than 14 per cent to 22.5p.

Chairman Khoo Kay Peng explained: “The first half of 2013 has proved to be a challenging one for us. A period of prolonged cold weather impacted fashion sales as customers continued to wear winter clothing and did not buy into spring/summer ranges later in  the season.

“The subsequent switch into a long spell of very hot weather, particularly throughout July, had a negative impact on home furnishing sales.”

UK sales fell 5.9 per cent to £120 million, with like-for-like sales dropping 2.2 per cent. Two stores opened and five closed.

Three of the four areas of the business — home accessories, decorations and fashion — all saw falls in sales, with only furniture managing an increase of 0.5 per cent.

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