Laura Ashley first-half online sales reach £23.5m
Laura Ashley today said its online sales grew by 4.5%, or £1m, to reach £23.5m in the first half of its financial year.
Ecommerce sales accounted for 19% of total UK retail sales during the six months to August 1. The fashion to furniture retailer said today that it had introduced delivery of online orders to the Benelux countries. "Early indications," it said, "are that this will grow quickly."
The figures came as Laura Ashley reported a 3% fall in group sales to £139.7m, while pre-tax profits dipped by 1.2% to £8.4m, from £8.5m at the same time last year. Like-for-like retail sales, however, grew by 7%.
Chairman Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Peng said: "I am pleased to report that our business has maintained the robust performance of recent years with a healthy increase in like-for-like, retail sales. Our UK business, buoyed by a strong performance from our online channel, has shown resilience and potential for continued growth."
The UK business saw strong growth in its furniture (+10.4%, like-for-like), home accessories (+10.5%, like-for-like) and decorating (+4%) categories. Together these account for 83% of sales. But in the competitive fashion category, which accounts for 17% of turnover, like-for-like sales grew by just 0.6%.