Shares in fashion retailer Laura Ashley rose nearly seven per cent today after the company reported strong sales in the 17 weeks to 29 May.

Total retail sales in Britain rose 6.2 per cent, while sales increased 5.3 per cent on a like for like basis.

Online sales also did well, up 74 per cent, while mail order sales dropped 26 per cent.

The company said it now has 229 stores in Britain and Ireland in addition to 233 franchise stores spread across 26 countries.

The company said in a statement, "Despite the current economic uncertainties, we remain confident of continued growth in 2010 built on the platform of a strong balance sheet with no bank borrowing, a strong brand and a distinctive product offering."

By 11:24 shares in Laura Ashley were up 6.91 per cent to 14.70 pence per share.