Springs also go in home furnishings business
Laura Ashley's run of poor trading has continued over the past half year, leaving the ailing home furnishings-to-fashion retailer no choice but to initiate cost-cutting measures. The retailer reported an 11.6 per cent fall in total UK like-for-like sales for the 24 weeks to January 15. Like for-likes in home furnishings were down 4 per cent. The retailer's UK fashion like-for-like sales plummeted a staggering 28.2 per cent.

The retailer said: 'In line with the home furnishings sector as a whole, we have experienced a difficult trading environment and increased competitiveness. The decline in our strategy of reduced reliance on promotional activity.'

The retailer declined to reveal Christmas trading figures, because it believes the season is usually slow for its core home furnishings business and does not serve as a useful indication of overall trading performance.

Laura Ashley said that through cost cutting and margin improvement its profit before tax for the full year should be in line with market forecasts.