The chain most famous for its floral prints said pretax profit was up 9% to £8.5m for the six months to 26 July, excluding an exceptional item a year before. Sales were up 4.9% to £144m although on like-for-like they rose 1.2%.
But sales growth improved in July and the company said like-for-like sales jumped by 8% in August.
The company is best known for the prints first produced by its eponymous founder on her kitchen table in the 1950s. By the end of the 1980s, after Ashley's death, the company floated on the stock market and had 450 shops as far afield as
Under the Malaysian owners who rescued the company in 1998,
Like-for-like furniture sales fell 1.2% in the first half and equivalent sales in fashion were flat. Like-for-like sales in lighting and other home accessories rose 4.3% and in decorating they were up 1.3%.
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