Laura Ashley reports decline in annual sales and profit

For the 52 weeks to June 30, 2017, total sales at Laura Ashley Group were 277 million pounds (354 million dollars) compared with 400.9 million pounds (513 million dollars) for the 74 week period last year. Like-for-like sales for the period fell by 3.1 percent. Group profit before taxation was 8.4million pounds (10.7 million dollars) against 24.7million pounds (31.6 million dollars) last year.

Commenting on the results, Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Peng, the group’s Chairman, said in a press release: “Trading conditions have been challenging for the year ended 30 June 2017. The impact of weak sterling has also contributed to the overall fall in profit.”

Ecommerce sales for the year were 57.3million pounds (73 million dollars) compared to 73.5million pounds (94 million dollars) for the 74 weeks last year. Like-for-like ecommerce sales grew by 5.6 percent.

The company said, board is not recommending payment of a final dividend and the total dividend paid for the year to 30 June 2017 remains at 0.5p, having already paid an interim dividend.

In the UK, as at 30 June 2017, the property portfolio comprised of 167 stores. During the reporting period, the company closed 25 stores, reducing total selling space by 6.5 percent. Over the coming year, the company plans to open two new stores and close three stores in the UK.

Total UK retail sales of 252 million pounds (322 million dollars) were recorded during the 52 weeks against 363.2million pounds (464 million dollars) for the 74 weeks period last year. Total ecommerce sales of 57.3million pounds (73 million dollars) were recorded during the period against 73.5million pounds (94 million dollars) last year. On a like-for-like basis, sales grew by 5.6percent.

Fashion category sales includes adult fashion, fashion accessories and perfumery for the year decreased by 12.2percent over the same period last year with like-for-like sales down 10.4percent.

Contributing 7.4 percent of total group revenue, the company run 243 franchised stores in 29 territories worldwide at the end of the year. Franchise and licensing revenue of 20.6million pounds (26 million dollars) was recorded during the year compared to 30.7million pounds (39 million dollars) for the 74 weeks last year. Like for like performance was down 1.1 percent.

The company has acquired a new licence partner, The Future Group, in India during the year and will be opening its first Indian stores in September. The company also launched a new website in China in November 2016 and is also in discussions with a number of potential partners in other territories in the Far East.

Laura Ashley