Laura Ashley to close 40 UK stores as it looks to expand into China
Fashion and homewares retailer Laura Ashley is to close 40 of its 160 stores in the UK.
The company’s new chairman Andrew Khoo told the Press Association that he wanted to have fewer but bigger stores here and that the company would also be expanding its presence into China.
He said: “The direction I want to go in is to have not so many stores, but maybe the ones we have could be larger. It’s more about showcasing the brand.”
Khoo said the retail environment in the UK was challenging and could perhaps get even more so, but that he still had confidence in the country in the long term and would continue to invest. He said: “As long as Laura Ashley stays relevant there’s no reason we can’t get over this little speed bump.”
Looking at China, Laura Ashley will first build an online presence then go onto open stores. Khoo said the company was moving into Asia in a “much bigger way”.
He added: “We have a regional office in Singapore that is focused purely on ecommerce into China. Once we get a significant foothold in in digital retail in China, we can look at the physical stores rollout.”
Khoo took over as chairman from his father Tan Sri Dr Khoo last week.
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