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Laura Ashley to axe 268 jobs following administration

By James Pugh | Newtown | Business | Published:

Laura Ashley is to cut 268 jobs after the fashion retailer slid into administration last week.

Laura Ashley has stores across the region

Administrators for the high street firm said the redundancies will mainly affect staff in its headquarters and back office roles.

It comes after the retailer announced last week that it will permanently close 70 stores, after filing for administration.

It said at the time that 721 workers were at risk, but the majority of these are now due to be furloughed.

The company has a large store in Vastre Enterprise Park in Newtown as well as stores in Shrewsbury, Telford, Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield and Wolverhampton.

No details have been released about which stores will close.

Laura Ashley's first shop was opened where she lived in Machynlleth, Powys, in 1961, named Ashley Mountney, and Shrewsbury was home to one of the first stores under the Laura Ashley name in 1970.

Laura Ashley hired PwC to advise on the administration process as it blamed the impact of coronavirus for tipping it over the edge.

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The administrators said that they have had held talks with potential bidders over the sale of part or whole of the company.

Laura Ashley said on Tuesday that it plans to furlough 1,669 staff in line with Government guidelines, while 677 people will continue to work for the business as normal.

Staff are continuing to run the retailer's online operations, in line with guidance over social distancing, it said.

PwC added that is anticipated all stores will reopen, when guidance permits, for a period of time, either because the stores form part of a sale or to sell off remaining stock.

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Rob Lewis, joint administrator for the company, said: "We have had a large number of interested parties speak with us.

"The process will take as long as it needs but we will let staff know as soon as we have an outcome.

"Laura Ashley is a really strong brand in the UK and internationally, so there is obviously interest."

The administration came after a challenging period for the clothing and furnishings brand, which saw pre-tax losses balloon to £4 million in 2019.

James Pugh

By James Pugh
@JamesP_Star

Shropshire Star Business and Farming Editor.

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