Update on Laura Ashley Holdings plc - and certain subsidiaries - in administration

Mar 31, 2020

On Monday 23 March, Rob Lewis and Zelf Hussain of PwC were appointed as joint administrators of Laura Ashley Holdings plc (“ Laura Ashley” or “the Company”, its key trading subsidiary Laura Ashley Limited, Premier Home Logistics Limited, Laura Ashley Investments Limited, and Texplan Manufacturing Limited (collectively “ the Group”)).

Since their appointment, the joint administrators have continued to trade the business whilst engaging with interested parties with the aim of securing a buyer. All 147 UK stores closed on 23 March. 70 were closed following a review of their longer term viability, whilst the balance of stores were closed following UK Government guidance around COVID-19*. It is currently anticipated that all stores will reopen (when guidance permits) for a period of time, either because the stores form part of a sale of the business or to sell through the stock on hand.

Following the government’s announcement last week in relation to the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme, the administrators will be applying to include a large number of Laura Ashley’s employees within the scheme. The joint administrators are therefore able to confirm that they have communicated today to 1669 store employees that they will be furloughed with effect from today (31 March). 

Regretfully however, due to the financial position of the business, it is not viable to retain or furlough all employees. The joint administrators have had to take the difficult decision to implement a redundancy programme today for 268 employees across a number of head office and back office functions. All staff affected have been informed and will be paid up to and including their last day of employment. We will be working with those employees to provide all necessary support including finding alternative employment.

The joint administrators will continue to trade the e-commerce business as normal while discussions take place with interested parties with the aim of securing a buyer. Remaining employees in head office or those supporting the e-commerce business will work at home where possible, or where not, are working within social distancing guidelines. The joint administrators will continue to closely monitor the Government advice in relation to COVID-19 and will fully implement the advice we are given.

Rob Lewis, joint administrator and PwC partner, said:

“It is obviously disappointing to have to announce redundancies at what is already a challenging time for individuals dealing with COVID-19 disruption.  However, we have taken this difficult step to improve the viability of the business whilst we continue to engage with interested parties around a potential sale. We will, of course, provide all affected staff with the necessary support during this difficult time, which will include working with various agencies and employers who have vacancies.  We will also be providing support to those staff and the many remaining staff in the Group’s operations in Newtown, Coalville and head office in Chelsea.

“We would like to thank the employees for the support, service and cooperation they have provided to Laura Ashley, both before and during the period of administration to date.

“Alongside supporting staff, our key objective as administrators is to progress the solid expressions of interest from parties who are interested in acquiring the business. We believe there is strong value in the Group and the brand, and we remain focused on doing all we can to achieve a sale.”

ENDS 

Employees helpline number 020 7213 8767 or  uk_lauraashley_employees@pwc.com
 

Customers:  uk_lauraashley_customers@pwc.com

Suppliers:   uk_lauraashley_suppliers@pwc.com

Landlords:  uk_lauraashley_landlords@pwc.com

Creditors:   uk_lauraashley_creditors@pwc.com

 

Notes to editors: 

*  At the time of administration on March 23, 70 stores were closed and 77 remained open. After further government restrictions were introduced later that day re-shops selling non-essential goods, all stores were then temporarily closed.

 

Press release March 23 
Laura Ashley Holdings plc- and certain subsidiaries - in administration

 

PwC Media Relations contacts 

David Jetuah 
Mobile: 07841468678
Email: david.jetuah@pwc.com

Diana Yeboah
Mobile: 07483422914
Email: Diana.Yeboah@pwc.com

Chris French
Mobile : +44 (0)7483 434951
Email: christopher.c.french@pwc.com

About PwC

At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 158 countries with over 250,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at www.pwc.com.

PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure for further details.

© 2020 PwC. All rights reserved

Contact us

David Jetuah

David Jetuah

Senior manager, media relations, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7841 468678

Follow us