Apr 1, 2010
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Laura Ashley profit up, promotions lift recent sales

Apr 1, 2010

April 1 (Reuters) - British fashion and homewares retailer Laura Ashley Holdings Plc (ALY.L) posted a 5.2 percent rise in full-year adjusted pretax profit, boosted by sales through the internet and at its UK stores.

Laura Ashley
Photo: www.lauraashley.com

However, Laura Ashley cut 2010 dividend by 20 percent to 1 pence.

The company expects growth continuing in 2010 and said like-for-like sales for the eight weeks to March 27 rose 4.6 percent due to targeted promotional activity.

For the year ended Jan. 30, the company posted adjusted pretax profit of 10.1 million pounds ($15.33 million), up from 9.6 million pounds a year ago.

Total sales increased 3 percent to 268.4 million pounds.

Gross margin for the financial year 2010 declined by 1.8 percentage points due to promotions and the weakness of sterling.

Laura Ashley, which trades from 231 stores in the UK, said in 2010 it would focus on buying smaller, new concept stores and optimising space in its existing portfolio to drive additional density. Shares of the company closed at 13 pence on Wednesday 31 March on the London Stock Exchange. ($1=.6588 POUND) (Reporting by Shivani Singh in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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