Laura Ashley announces closure of 70 shops with 721 jobs at risk

Designer British retailer Laura Ashley has announced the permanent closure of 70 of its stores, after it failed to secure funding.

The move could see 721 Laura Ashely employees out of work during a global pandemic.

Laura Ashley had already been struggling with tough high street conditions and warned it need £15million in rescue talks.

It had looked as though the iconic British brand may survive, as it reported a 23% increase in trading in the seven weeks to March 13.

Unfortunately, killer bug COVID-19 had an “immediate and significant” impact on trading.

It added that its main shareholder MUI Asia Limited won't be able to step in with the money that is needed on time.

Katharine Poulter, Chief Executive Officer of Laura Ashley, said: "Since my appointment just last month, I have shared my vision for the future of this brand, accompanied with a robust turnaround plan to set the future direction of the company and return Laura Ashley to the great British brand that is known and cherished around the world.

"The vision also included reconnecting with our traditional values and our strong British heritage, and focusing on developing Laura Ashley as a lifestyle brand.

"I remain unwavering in my belief that Laura Ashley can and should retain the place it deserves in the international retail landscape.

She added: "Unfortunately, we will lose some brilliant people through no fault of their own.

"However, I remain hopeful there is a buyer out there who shares my vision and can see the enormous potential of this iconic British brand that is known and loved around the world."

The company announced it collapse into administration last week, just moments after Carphone Warehouse close all its 531 stores in the UK.

  • New coronavirus measures mean all train tickets to be refunded by Government

Dixons Carphone said all 531 standalone Carphone Warehouse stores will shut and 2,900 jobs will be lost.

It will now shift the focus to its Currys PC World stores and online, and create a new website for its mobile phone services.

The bleak news for the already struggling British High Street comes as the Covid-19 outbreak continues to grip the nation with 283 deaths and over 5,000 positive cases.

  • Coronavirus

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