Reporting what it described as “a resilient set of results”, Laura Ashley said it drove like-for-like sales up by 3.3% in the year to January 28 2012.
Total group sales increased by just 0.3% to £285.9m but UK sales fell 0.6% to £255m. Pre-tax profit excluding exceptional items was also down 2.6% to £18.8m.
However, the furniture, fashion and homewares chain has made a strong start in its new financial year, with like-for-like sales during the first eight weeks up by 10.9%.
“In what continues to be a very competitive consumer environment, I’m pleased that we have maintained the progress of recent years and delivered a resilient set of results,” commented chairman Tan Sri Dr KP Khoo, “maintaining gross margin and seeing continued like-for-like sales growth across the retail business.
“A strong performance in the first half of the year was followed by a more challenging autumn. We did, however, see a return to stronger trading towards the end of 2011 with a positive trend in like-for-like sales growth.”
He added: “As we expand internationally, we’re proud that over 40% of our sales is derived from products manufactured in the UK.”