Laura Ashley is to widen its gifts offer after customer feedback.

The home and fashion retailer is also eyeing further standalone gift and accessory stores.

Joint chief operating officer Nick Kaloyirou said it will introduce lines including tea and coffee from October and will relaunch fragrances and beauty products.

He said: “Gifting will be an important area for us. Fragrance is definitely a big opportunity. There is a real interest from customers who continually ask when we are going to bring it back.”

Kaloyirou said the retailer will open further standalone gift and accessory stores, after the “tremendous” performance of its pilot in Liverpool Street, London.

Laura Ashley pre-tax profits surged 28% to £7.3m against sales of £135.3m in the half year to July 30, with UK like-for-likes up 3.5%.

The profit growth was driven by its franchise business. Kaloyirou said the retailer was eyeing further franchise opportunities in China, Indonesia and Thailand.

Total UK retail sales were down 1.1% to £120.1m as the retailer continued to shut unprofitable stores.

All of Laura Ashley’s product categories, except home accessories, showed like-for-like growth. The retailer said it expanded its customer base in furniture with the introduction of contemporary lines.