Homewares and womenswear retailer Laura Ashley expects full year trading to be broadly in line with company expectations after like-for-like sales rose 4.9% over the first 19 weeks of the second half to 12 December.

Total sales at the 231-store retailer increased by 8.8% boosted by promotional activity over the period.

Laura Ashley’s ecommerce sales increased 47.5%, while mail order sales fell 23.7%.

In a statement, the retailer said: “In a retail environment that remains challenging, we will continue to focus on our strong brand and product offering in addition to improving operational efficiencies. We expect the full year trading to be broadly in line with the board’s expectations.”

Made-to-order furniture and made-to-measure curtains have been added to the online offer.

Laura Ashley reported no major developments in the Laura Ashley franchising or licensing business over the period. There are 228 franchised Laura Ashley stores in 27 countries.