Laura Ashley [IRDX RLAU] today reported growing online revenues but falling sales across the business. It said ecommerce sales grew by 5.6% over the last year, following improvements to its multichannel offer.
The update came as the fashion to homewares retailer, a Top100 trader in IRUK Top500 research, reported profits of £6.3m in the year to June 30. That’s down from £22.8m reported in the 72 weeks covered by the previous financial statement.
Laura Ashley said that online sales of £57.3m in the year to June 30 were up by 5.6% on a like-for-like basis, which strips out the effect of store openings and closures, but overall like-for-like sales were down by 3.1%. Total retail sales came in at £252.0m during the year, down from the £363.2m recorded in the previous 74 weeks.
Chairman Dr Khoo Kay Peng said: “We are focussed on addressing the challenges which our business has encountered over the past year and are confident that we are well-positioned to overcome them. Our online performance continues to be strong and we saw like-for-like online revenues grow by 5.6% over the year. Customer responses to the improvements we have made to our multi-channel offer have been positive and we are committed to its ongoing enhancement and development.”
The retailer also said it was developing its international presence, both online and offline as it takes its multichannel approach further afield. It launched a website in China in November 2016 and is set to open its first stores in India in September.
Dr Peng said: “Laura Ashley is known worldwide for high quality, beautifully designed products. 33% of our sales come from products manufactured in the UK. We are confident that the enduring nature and heritage of this much-loved British brand as well as the execution of our business strategies, will help position the group to grow and develop over the years to come.”