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LAURA ASHLEY HOLDINGS ANNOUNCES INTERIM RESULTS FOR THE 26 WEEKS ENDED JULY 31, 1993; SALES UP IN THE U.K. AND EUROPE 19 PERCENT AND 24 PERCENT

 NEW YORK, Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Laura Ashley Holdings plc today reported results for the 26 weeks ended July 31, 1993. Sales increased 23 percent (13 percent after adjusting for exchange rates) to 144 million pounds sterling. Profit before tax was 1.3 million pounds (1992: 1.7 million pounds) resulting in earnings per share of 0.22p, compared to 0.40p for the comparable period last year.
 Despite continued weak economic conditions, the retail businesses in the U.K. and Continental Europe achieved sales growth of 19 percent and 24 percent respectively, while maintaining gross margins. Sales growth of 4 percent in the North American business reflected the progressive recovery from the problems experienced in the second half of last year.
 Commenting on the period Chief Executive Jim Maxmin said: "Overall sales growth of 13 percent represents a strong performance in the current world economic environment and confirms that Laura Ashley is in tune with the consumer of the 1990s. Our ability to gain market share by focusing on operational excellence demonstrates the fundamental strength of the Laurah?ley brand, upon which our long term strategy is based."
 The company said it expects to increase its investment in store refurbishment and relocation, marketing, systems, education and training worldwide. As a result of these increased investments, as well as the fact that trading in North America is below the company's original expectations, at this stage it would not be prudent to anticipate that profit before tax for the company in the second half will be significantly ahead of the first half.
 Laura Ashley Holdings plc is a U.K.-based international designer and distributor of apparel, home furnishings, gifts and accessories. Founded in 1953, the company markets the Laura Ashley brand throughout the world. Laura Ashley has more than 500 retail outlets located in 28 countries. The company's American Depositary Receipts are traded in the U.S. on the OTC Market.
 LAURA ASHLEY HOLDING PLC
 Interim Results for the Six Months Ended July 31, 1993
 Group Profit and Loss Account
 Periods ended 26 weeks 52 weeks
 7/31/93 7/25/92 1/30/93
 (Unaudited) (Audited)
 Turnover 143,951 116,805 247,793
 Cost of sales (66,538) (49,578) (109,835)
 Gross profit 77,413 67,227 137,958
 Net operating expenses (76,657) (65,796) (136,892)
 Operating profit 756 1,431 1,066
 Share of profit from
 associated undertakings 877 765 1,473
 Net interest payable (325) (512) (753)
 Profit on ordinary
 activities before taxation 1,308 1,684 1,786
 Taxation on ordinary activities (795) (752) (997)
 Profit after tax 513 932 789
 Dividend -- -- (122)
 Retained profit for the period 513 932 667
 Earnings/(loss) per share 0.22p 0.40p 0.34p
 Dividend per share Nil Nil 0.10p
 -0- 9/23/93
 /NOTE TO THE EDITOR: A complete version of the press release issued in London today can be obtained by calling either of the contacts below/
 /CONTACT: David Oliver of Laura Ashley Holdings plc, in London: 011-44-71-736-6700, or Thomas C. Franco or William J. Jenks of Broadgate Consultants, Inc., 212-229-2222/


CO: Laura Ashley Holding plc ST: New York IN: TEX HOU SU: ERN

TS -- NY026 -- 5182 09/23/93 11:48 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 23, 1993
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