Laura Ashley Australia declares bankruptcy
Laura Ashley’s Australian business has entered administration for the second time in two years, putting the future of 18 stores and 100 workers at risk.
The business, which operates under license from Laura Ashley UK, has appointed Craig Shepard and Leanne Chesser of KordaMentha Restructuring as voluntary administrators, it emerged on Monday. They have put the brand’s stores and license up for sale.
The fashion and homeware business fell victim to “the same factors affecting many other fashion retailers: a becalmed retail environment, rising fixed costs and fierce competition from online retailers,” Craig Shepard said.
“The capital requirements to revive and grow the business became too burdensome as retail conditions became tougher.”
Laura Ashley’s Australian arm, which at its peak had more than 45 stores, has began to clear stock in the run up to Christmas.
The brand first entered Australia in 1971, but it fell into administration in January 2016 following difficult trading conditions. A private buyer acquired the license six months later and has run the business since.
Meanwhile, Laura Ashley UK is also struggling. Like-for-like sales for the year to 30 June 2018 fell by 0.4%, while pre-tax group profit declined to £0.1m from £6.3m a year earlier.
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