Laura Ashley to close 70 UK stores

(Bernama) – British textile design company Laura Ashley Holdings Plc will be closing 70 stores in the United Kingdom that could potentially affect about 720 employees.

Owner Malayan United Industries Bhd (MUI) said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia today that 77 stores would be opened as usual, while Laura Ashley’s franchisees and licensees would also trade as normal.

It said the company’s initial focus would be to engage with parties interested in acquiring the business.

Laura Ashley will be requesting to be delisted from the London Stock Exchange and has appointed Rob Lewis and Zelf Hussain of PricewaterhouseCoopers as administrators of the company and its subsidiaries, MUI said.

It said the appointment is expected to be approved by the court on Monday.

Meanwhile, Laura Ashley chief executive officer Katharine Poulter said she hoped there is a buyer out there who can see the enormous potential of the iconic British brand.

MUI, through its wholly owned unit, MUI Asia Ltd, owns a 35.17% stake in Laura Ashley.