Fashion and homewares group Laura Ashley claimed a “resilient” performance despite suffering a fall in full-year profits from £15.8m to £9.6m.

Promotions and the weakness of sterling sliced 2 percentage points off gross margin, but the retailer generated a 9.6 per cent rise in total group sales to £260.5m in the year to January 31.

UK retail like-for-likes slid 6.2 per cent, but in fashion advanced 3.6 per cent and the retailer reported a “healthy balance sheet”, with £7.9m net cash at the year-end.

Chairman Tan Sri Dr KP Phoo said: “In a period of extraordinary economic difficulties I am pleased that Laura Ashley has remained resilient.”

He said the retailer would focus on improved product, increased productivity as a result of operational efficiencies and its store realignment programme.