Laura Ashley has said that full year trading will be in line with expectations as it revealed a like-for-like sales hike of 5.3% in the 17 weeks to May 29.

The fashion and homewares retailer said total UK retail sales were up 6.2% for the period with online sales soaring 74%. This came to the cost of mail order sales which dropped 26%.

The retailer said in a statement: “Despite the current economic uncertainties, we remain confident of continued growth in 2010 built on the platform of a strong balance sheet with no bank borrowing, a strong brand and a distinctive product offering.

“Maximising operational efficiency will continue to be a key focus for the management team.  Although at an early stage in the year, we expect full year trading to be in line with expectations.”

Laura Ashley also announced a new franchise partner in South Korea. It now had 233 franchise stores globally in 26 countries.

Laura Ashley currently has 229 stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland.