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Retailer goes bust

Laura Ashley collapses, 2,700 jobs at risk

Laura Ashley

Fading fashion: Laura Ashley launched in 1968

Fashion and furnishings chain Laura Ashley has filed for administration.

The retailer had been in talks with stakeholders over refinancing but the talks were thwarted by the Covid-19 outbreak.

It said its “revised cash flow forecasts and increased uncertainty” mean it will not be able to secure these funds in sufficient time.

The retailer operates 150 stores in the UK and employs about 2,700 staff.

It has hired advisers from PwC to oversee the administration.

In a statement, it said: “The company regrets to announce that the directors of the company, and of the named subsidiaries, have today filed notices of intention to appoint Robert Lewis and Zelf Hussain as administrators.

“If administrators are appointed in respect of the company, given the group’s creditor position, the company is not certain whether there would be any surplus assets available to shareholders of the company.”

The business had been doing well during the seven weeks to 13 March, with trading up 24% on the same period a year earlier.

“However, the Covid-19 outbreak has had an immediate and significant impact on trading, and ongoing developments indicate that this will be a sustained national situation,” the company said in the statement to investors.

Main shareholder MUI Asia will not be able to step in with the money which is needed in time, Laura Ashley said.

The first shop under the Laura Ashley name opened in Pelham Street, South Kensington, in 1968.

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