Laura Ashley today warned on full-year profits as it reported a swathe of bad numbers.

Pre-tax profits slid by nearly a third in the half-year to December 31, while like-for-likes fell 3.5%.

Its international also suffered, albeit not on the scale of the UK business. Despite this, the retailer is adding India to its roster and furthering developments in China.

Chairman Khoo Kay Peng said: “Continuing to grow and develop our international presence and explore new partnership opportunities is an important part of our strategy and we have made good progress in the half.”

Retail Week Prospect head of research Phil Wiggenraad takes a closer look at how the retailer can return to growth.

Also today, Amazon is readying an own-label fashion launch in the UK and the Forum for Private Business warned that upcoming business rate changes could spell the death of diversity for UK high streets.

Quote of the day

“In the wider scheme of things, my concern is that incidents like this do nothing to help dispel the perception that retail is a low-pay sector that fails to look after its workers.”

News editor James Wilmore and executive editor George MacDonald debate whether Debenhams is villain or victim.

Today in numbers


The amount Debenhams underpaid 11,858 staff by.


The fine handed to Debenhams by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which named and shamed it in a list of underpaying employers.

Friday’s agenda

There’s nothing on the agenda for tomorrow. In the meantime, take a look at the key themes from our ranking of the top 50 retailers.

Becky Waller-Davies, fashion reporter