UK home furnishings and clothing chain Laura Ashley Holdings Plc said its full-year profit rose on better margins, but that same-store UK sales dropped by over 10 per cent.

For the year ended 29 January 2005, net profit totalled £3.5 million compared to the £2.0m reported last year.

However, total sales dropped 16 per cent to £238.9m compared to £283.5m last year, while same-store UK retail sales were 10.2 per cent behind.

The company's newly appointed chief executive Lillian Tan plans to expand on the company's licensing and franchising businesses, and has said that although the chain will be modernising its merchandise offering, it will still target the same market.