Buyer found for Laura Ashley Australia; 18 retail outlets and online store under new ownership

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The Laura Ashley brand will continue in Australia, after a buyer was found for 18 of the brand’s local retail outlets and its online store.

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

That search was successful, with a private buyer purchasing the business from the administrators as a going concern.

SmartCompany understands the a purchase agreement for business has been finalised with a company called L Ashley Pty Ltd. The purchase price is undisclosed, as are the conditions of the agreement.

However, SmartCompany understands the sale includes 18 Laura Ashley retail outlets and the brand’s online store in Australia.

In January, 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. At that time, there were 25 Laura Ashley stores trading in Australia.

The Australian operations of Laura Ashley were established in 1971 and the business specialises in selling clothing, homewares and furniture from the iconic brand.

The business was also operating four stores in New Zealand. While the New Zealand operations were not included in the voluntary administration of the Australian operations, administrators from Gerry Rea Partners were subsequently appointed to LA (New Zealand) in early June, according to Stuff.co.nz.

The four New Zealand stores ceased trading at the end of last month and owe unsecured creditors more than $2.3 million, with Stuff reporting the buyer of the Australian operations was not “in a position to look at New Zealand”.

SmartCompany has contacted the L Ashley Pty Ltd for further comment.

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