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Losses widen at Laura Ashley

Laura Ashley

Laura Ashley Holdings plc has announced its full final results for the 52 weeks to 30 June 2019.

Summary

  • Loss before tax and exceptional items of £9.8m (2018: Profit of £5.6m).

  • Statutory loss before tax of £14.3m (2018: Profit of £0.1m).

  • Total Group sales of £232.5m (2018: £257.2m).

  • Total like-for-like retail sales down 3.5%.

  • Fashion like-for-like retail sales up 9.2%.

  • Online revenue of £51.2m (2018: £59.7m).

  • The Board is not recommending payment of a dividend.

     

Commenting on the results, Andrew Khoo, Chairman, said: “The last twelve months have proved to be a difficult trading period for the Group and indeed for the retail sector as a whole.

The primary causes for the year-on-year drop in profit have been the performance of Home Furnishing and that of our website following a re-platforming exercise which took place in November 2018.

We have focussed on the reasons why Home Furnishings have underperformed and have taken necessary steps to mitigate this, including adding new contemporary product to our ranges. We have taken active steps to listen to our customers and now believe that we are on an appropriate recovery path. We continue to invest in our website and are working with our online service providers to ensure that it is optimised to deliver an enhanced customer experience and to achieve the desired growth.

We are pleased with the continued resurgence of our fashion business, achieving like-for-like growth of 9.2%. This is the result of the improved design of our ranges.

As the group expands its international reach, we are delighted to announce that we have recently signed a master licensing agreement with IMG to market and develop the brand in China. This partnership will give us greater access to customers and increase the distribution of our products in the market. We will also be focussing on the Australian market with the first store anticipated to open in Melbourne in 2020.

We are also delighted with the progress of our growing licensed hospitality business. There are now nine Laura Ashley licensed tearooms and two Laura Ashley licensed hotels. The pipeline of new licenses is very healthy as we enter a new financial period. We are especially pleased with the customer response to this initiative.

During the last twelve months the Group disposed of its property in Singapore and its Hotel property in Elstree. This has enabled us to eliminate all long term debt and put us on a stronger financial footing for the years ahead.

As we look to expand our international licensing and hospitality business and optimise UK retail, we are confident in our business strategy which is to create a total lifestyle experience.

Source: Insight DIY Team & Laura Ashley press release.

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23 August 2019

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