Laura Ashley voluntary administration to continue into May following court extension

Tobacco Station Group, franchisor of over 340 retail outlets, is up for sale

The voluntary administration of Australian retail chain Laura Ashley will continue until at least the middle of May, after the company’s administrators were granted an extended time period for which to hold the second meeting of creditors.

The Australian arm of Laura Ashley collapsed into voluntary administration on January 7, with Ross Blakeley, Quentin Olde and John Park from FTI Consulting appointed to manage the administration and find a buyer for the business.

At the time, Laura Ashley Australia was operating 38 stores across the country under a licence agreement from Laura Ashley UK.

Seven stores were closed at the end of January, with another five outlets earmarked for closure in mid-February.

In a statement issued to SmartCompany late last week, FTI Consulting said the Supreme Court of Victoria granted orders to extend the convening period for the second creditors’ meeting to May 19.

“We sought this extension after receiving indicative offers for the acquisition of the business assets as a going concern, and now require more time to progress negotiations with those parties,” administrator Ross Blakeley said in the statement.

“While the negotiations are ongoing, the administrators are hopeful that the process will lead to a binding sale.”

The administrators said creditors and Laura Ashley employees have been kept informed of the process.

The Australian operators of Laura Ashley were established in 1971 and specialise in selling clothing, homewares and furniture.

The business also operates four stores in New Zealand, however, the appointment of administrators only applies to the retailer’s Australian stores.

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