Laura Ashley U.K. Closes 70 Stores, Looks Toward China

April 7, 2020

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LONDON – Laura Ashley U.K., the home furnishings and fashion brand, will close 70 branches here, while it makes a move into China, according to trade reports.

“This is a sad time for Laura Ashley U.K. as we step in administration. Regrettably, our news means we are saying goodbye to some dear colleagues and communities,” a Laura Ashley Facebook post reads on March 23.


A Facebook announcement from Laura Ashley. 

Administration in the U.K. is similar to bankruptcy in the U.S., so it functions as a rescue mechanism for insolvent companies and allows them to carry on running their business.

The coronavirus pandemic has added to the financial problems of the British retailer, which was founded in 1953.

The company said the store closures could affect 721 jobs, but that it would continue to sell its products online. It has its headquarters in London.

The company’s annual revenue fell 31% in 2017, 7% in 2018, and 9% in 2019, when it had annual revenue to 232 million pounds, or about $285 million, according to Craft.co.

Laura Ashley is owned by Malayan United Industries (MUI). In December 2019, MJI Executive Chairman Andrew Khoo Boo Yeow held a press conference in Malaysia.

“(The company) is moving to Asia in a much bigger way,” Yeow said, according to a BBC.com article. “Once we get a significant foothold in digital retail in China, we can look to the physical stores rollout.”

 


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