Laura Ashley’s acquisition by Gordon Brothers, along with a failed attempt to form a new UK business under licence from the new owners, has resulted in redundancies. Administrators from PwC have only retained staff involved directly in clearing stock from all Laura Ashley stores, on a short term basis, prior to the majority of the stores closing for good.
Former Laura Ashley CEO Katharine Poulter who had pulled together support from a private equity backer and the Welsh government had hoped to take on the stores, as well as Laura Ashley’s Newtown, Powys manufacturing and logistics centre. Plans had been to bring manufacturing back to Wales and restore the British brand to its former strength.
According to sources, Gordon Brothers refused to entertain any form of arrangement with the new proposed entity. Instead, having cherry-picked the assets they wished to acquire, namely the brand, archives and IP, PwC was left to dispose of all remaining assets and to issue redundancy notices to staff including Ms Poulter. The website continues to function, with the customer email, included here, received this week.