Finance

Laura Ashley collapse: Seven stores closed as voluntary administration continues

Eloise Keating /

 

Seven Laura Ashley stores in Australia have been closed as the voluntary administration of the retail chain in Australia continues.

The Australian arm of the homewares and clothing retail entered voluntary administration on January 7, at which time the chain was operated 38 stores in Australia.

Administrators FTI Consulting confirmed this morning seven Laura Ashley outlets have now closed, with 17 employees affected.

The stores that have ceased trading are in Brisbane and Robina in Queensland, Perth in Western Australia, and Richmond, Harbour Town, Fountain Gate and Elizabeth Street in Melbourne. 

The Laura Ashley store at the Raine Square shopping centre in Perth closed on Wednesday, January 27, with the shopping centre and Consumer Protection WA both tweeting an image of the store with a handwritten note in the front window that included an apology to customers for any inconvenience. 

Meanwhile, the store that previously housed the Laura Ashley outlet on Elizabeth Street in Melbourne’s CBD is now empty, with all stock removed from the store. 

Administrator Ross Blakeley said in a statement this morning the closures follow detailed assessments of all the stores in the Laura Ashley network and the overall financial position of the company. 

“This decision hasn’t been taken lightly,” Blakeley said. 

“We’re particularly conscious of the impact this has on affected employees.”

“However, our assessment has shown that the seven stores that we identified for closure are not viable. Our role as administrators requires us to examine every option to keep the business trading as a going concern, and to balance and maximise the outcome for all stakeholders.”

FTI Consulting said the administrators will continue to assess the ongoing viability of the business and discussions are continuing with a number of parties that have expressed interest in either investing in the business through a recapitalisation or purchasing the business’s assets. 

As previously reported by SmartCompany, FTI Consulting commenced a sale campaign for the Australian operations of Laura Ashley last week after receiving “strong informal interest from a large number of interested parties”. 

An advertisement for the business said the Australian stores, which are operated under a licence agreement from Laura Ashley UK, currently generate $42 million in annual sales. 

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Eloise Keating

Eloise Keating is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Eloise was news editor at Books+Publishing, the trade press for the Australian book industry.

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