Laura Ashley sees retail sales fall owing to variable weather

Retailer Laura Ashley has seen like-for-like retail sales fall 2.2 per cent in the first half of this year.

In the 26 weeks to 27 July 2013, the company reported that underlying pretax profit, excluding exceptional items, fell by £0.5m to £7.8m.

Total group sales were down 5.6 per cent at £137.3m which, the company's chairman Tan Sri Dr. K P Khoo said, was caused in part by the prolonged spell of hot weather during July having a negative impact on home furnishing sales.

E-commerce revenue was also down 3.7 per cent.

Tan Sri Dr. K P Khoo commented:

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.

As we enter the second half of 2013, we remain confident in both the quality of our product ranges and the underlying strength of our brand, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.

Traditionally our performance has been weighted to the second half with particular emphasis on the final months of the year. We will continue to adjust our store portfolio to ensure it delivers a profitable core business and outside the UK, international expansion remains a key focus.