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Laura Ashley shares tumble after profit warning

Shares in retailer Laura Ashley have fallen by as much as 18% after a profit warning was issued for the third time in a year.

Total group sales for the fashion and furnishings retailers fell by 7.7% year-on-year to £134.7m.

Total like-for-like retail sales were also down 0.5%, despite online revenue increasing 5.1%.

The company announced a 45% fall in pre-tax profits to £4.3m in the 26 weeks to 31 December, which it attributes to the “weak pound”.

Laura Ashley’s chairman, Khoo Kay Peng, said: “Trading conditions have continued to be challenging during the first six months of the [financial] year. The impact felt due to the weakening of sterling, year on year, was the most significant single factor in the fall of profit before tax.

“Our customer base continues to grow worldwide and we strive to give all customers the product and experience they expect from Laura Ashley. I remain confident that Laura Ashley will continue its progress and that the company is well positioned to make this happen.”

The firm also announced plans to license its hotel concept, Laura Ashley Hotels, internationally.

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