Laura Ashley rescued from administration

By guest editor Elias Jahshan from Retail Gazette

Caption courtesy by Retail Gazette
  • Laura Ashley rescued from administration by Gordon Brothers
  • Gordon Brothers acquired Laura Ashley’s global brand, its archives & related intellectual property from administration
  • Gordon Brothers intends to build ecommerce, develop wholesale & franchise relationships

Laura Ashley has been rescued from administration by global advisory, restructuring and investment firm Gordon Brothers.

Gordon Brothers acquired Laura Ashley’s global brand, its archives and related intellectual property from administration.

As new owners of the brand, Gordon Brothers intends to “place a strong emphasis on building ecommerce, developing more strategic wholesale relationships, and expanding the portfolio of licensees and franchisees globally.”

However, it was considering options such as retaining a streamlined portfolio of Laura Ashley retail stores within the UK and Ireland.

Gordon Brothers said it would also work with Laura Ashley’s existing management to “evaluate several go-to-market strategies” for the business.

The news comes a few weeks after Laura Ashley appointed advisory firm PwC as administrators after failing to secure an emergency funding lifeline amid coronavirus trading concerns.

It resulted in 268 staff across head office and back-office roles being made redundant while a further 1669 store employees were put on furlough due to the lockdown.

Laura Ashley has continued to trade online during the pandemic.

“Whilst we have taken an important step forward in securing the sale of the brand, we continue to explore opportunities to reshape the UK store-based retail and manufacturing businesses and are very grateful for the efforts of the entire team at Laura Ashley in helping us with those discussions,” said Rob Lewis, joint administrator of several of the Laura Ashley group companies in the UK.

Gordon Brothers brands president Ramez Toubassy said: “Laura Ashley is a true giant among British lifestyle brands, possessing a unique ability to span geographies, product categories, and price points. We feel humbled and inspired by the responsibility to reignite Mrs Ashley’s original vision while delivering unique and contemporary products to both long-time followers and new customers from around the world.”