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Laura Ashley issues warning after 29% fall in pre-tax profits to £7.8m

PUBLISHED: 09:03 16 February 2017 | UPDATED: 11:30 16 February 2017

Laura Ashley. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Laura Ashley. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Fashion and homewares retailer Laura Ashley has warned over full-year profits after being hit by falling sales and surging costs.

The group revealed a 29% plunge in pre-tax profits to £7.8m for the six months to December 31.

Retail sales over its first half, which include key Christmas trading, fell 3.5% on a like-for-like basis, putting it on a shortened list of losers over what proved to be a robust festive season elsewhere on the high street.

Shares in the group tumbled 11% as Laura Ashley alerted over profits amid tough trading, with like-for-like sales still in the red since the start of 2017 – down 0.6% in the six weeks to February 11.

Chairman Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Peng said: “Trading conditions have been demanding during the first six months of the year.

“The board have reviewed the first half results and forecasts for the remainder of the year to 30 June 2017 and, given the continued market challenges, feels that net pre-tax profit for the year will fall below market expectations.”

The group said profits were also knocked by rising costs after the pound’s plunge in value since the EU referendum, as well as the new national living wage, which together cost it £52.3m.

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