UK retailer Laura Ashley saw full-year net income grow on the back of rising sales.

The company said today (28 March) that over the year ended 26 January, net profit increased 11.8% to GBP17m (US$25.7m) from GBP15.2m in the prior year.

Sales were up 4.5% to GBP298.8m, as UK retail sales grew 3.1% to GBP263m. Meanwhile, like-for-like sales increased 2% and profit before tax was up 9.2% to GBP20.1m.

"We are confident that, despite an extremely competitive retail sector and a challenging consumer environment, both our business and brand are able to continue the steady and robust progress of recent years," said chairman Tan Sri Dr K P Khoo.

"As we continue to expand both globally and online, we believe that our quality product ranges, based on sixty years of innovative design and a rich brand heritage, underpin the foundations of our future growth."

The brand said growth has continued, with a 2.7% increase in like-for-like sales over the first two months of the year.

The announcement comes just days after the retailer was accused of "squeezing" its suppliers, asking them for a 10% discount on orders, including those that have already been placed.