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Furniture and lighting drive Laura Ashley growth

LAAW2015Strong furniture and home accessories growth has seen Laura Ashley lift UK retail sales in the past six months.

In the six months to 1 August furniture (upholstery, cabinet, beds and mirrors) accounted for 31% of its £125.5m sales; home accessories (lighting, gifts, bed linen, rugs, throws, cushions and children's accessories) made up 29%; decorating 23% and clothing 17%.
Furniture sales rose by 8.8%, which the chain attributed to widening its offer and described it as ‘an extremely impressive performance considering the many new entrants to market over the past two years in this category.’
Home accessories sales rose by 8.2%. ‘Significant growth was achieved by lighting, bed linen and gift ranges, all of which significantly outperformed the market. Early indications are that this growth will continue into Autumn/Winter 2015.’
Decorating sales increased by 2.1%, with made to measure curtains, readymade curtains and paint the bestsellers.
Clothing sales dropped by 5%.
Despite the growth in interiors sales, pre-tax profits dropped by £100,000 to £8.4m as franchise and licensing revenue fell by from £17.1m to £11.7m, attributed to as problems in the Japanese economy and the political and economic difficulties of Russia and Ukraine.
Online sales rose by 4.5% and now make up 19% of sales.