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(From FT Investor (Stories))
Laura Ashley and Next underlined the difficult Christmas trading period with sets of sales figures that showed slowing growth in both stores.
Laura Ashley added to the gloom by warning that the poor trading over the Christmas period would result in full-year profits "substantially lower" than current market forecasts.
The group said it now expected pre-tax profits before exceptionals to be no higher than last year's earnings of GBP8.6m.
Like-for-like sales in the 23 weeks to January 5 increased by 5 per cent, helped by strong sales in the home furnishings division, but margins slipped in both the UK and …