Laura Ashley to permanently close 70 shops

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It comes after the fashion and furnishings retailer slid into administration earlier this month, blaming the impact of coronavirus for tipping it over the edge.

It said it will continue to trade from its remaining 77 UK stores, which will remain open while online operations also continue to trade.

The company has a large store in Vastre Enterprise Park in Newtown as well as stores in Shrewsbury, Telford, Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield and Wolverhampton.

No details have been released about which stores will close.

Laura Ashley’s first shop was opened where she lived in Machynlleth, Powys, in 1961, named Ashley Mountney, and Shrewsbury was home to one of the first stores under the Laura Ashley name in 1970.

Katharine Poulter, chief executive officer of Laura Ashley, said: “Since my appointment just last month, I have shared my vision for the future of this brand, accompanied with a robust turnaround plan to set the future direction of the company and return Laura Ashley to the great British brand that is known and cherished around the world.

“The vision also included reconnecting with our traditional values and our strong British heritage, and focusing on developing Laura Ashley as a lifestyle brand.

“I remain unwavering in my belief that Laura Ashley can and should retain the place it deserves in the international retail landscape. Unfortunately, we will lose some brilliant people through no fault of their own.

“However, I remain hopeful there is a buyer out there who shares my vision and can see the enormous potential of this iconic British brand that is known and loved around the world.”