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E-commerce expansion improves Laura Ashley profits

05 April 2013 - 12:33 by Mike Price

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Profits at fashion and homeware chain, Laura Ashley, were up by six per cent thanks to a growth in e-commerce sales, according to Internet Retailing.

The company published its performance reports at the end of last month and announced that its sales made via safe shopping online had increased by 19.6 per cent over the past 12 months.

This meant that 16 per cent of its total annual sales were generated through its e-commerce site, as opposed to 14 per cent in the previous year.

A number of factors helped Laura Ashley to encourage its customers to buy online rather than visiting its high street outlets, including the creation of an m-commerce site that allows people to shop from their smartphones.

The firm also made it possible for people to order products through safe shopping online and then pick them up from their nearest store.

This kind of click and collect service has become particularly popular with a number of large retailers and seems to be a good way to bridge the gap between e-commerce and the high street, allowing both to co-exist.

Interestingly, it was revealed that although Laura Ashley opened six new outlets over the course of 2012, it also closed five of its existing shops, leaving the overall number up by just one.

This is as a result of restructuring work which was enacted in order to maximise the bricks and mortar impact of this brand and keep it profitable in the current economic climate.

It is certainly impressive that the firm has managed to secure growth, in spite of the fact that many other big names in British retail have been forced to close down over the past few months. This shows the power that e-commerce can have to sustain traditional stores.