Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Business News

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.