Laura Ashley Returns to Australia, Plans Expansion

Power Retail By Power Retail | 20 Apr 2022

Laura Ashley is returning to Australia after it filed voluntary administration in March 2020, citing the pandemic as its core reason. It will expand into various countries as part of a multi-year partnership with IMG.

Gordon Brothers, a global advisory and investment firm acquired Luara Ashley, including its intellectual property, such as logos, customer assets, trademarks etc. “We based our investment decision on the global consumer awareness of Laura Ashley and customer affinity for the brand,” the business said.

Now the retailer is expanding back into Australia. Gordon Brothers are partnering with IMG in a multi-year partnership to expand into local waters, as well as New Zealand, China, the Middle East and India. This includes the expansion of Laura Ashley’s footwear, clothing, homewares, and hospitality offerings – which include retail and licensing collaborations and partnerships.

“We are delighted to partner with IMG to continue to expand Laura Ashley following the success of its spring homeware collection and fall fashion collaboration last year,” said Tobias Nanda, President of Brands at Gordon Brothers. “Our focus in working with IMG will be to select additional strategic partnerships and collaborations to help bring the brand’s distinct aesthetic to consumers globally while continuing to develop our current brand partnerships.”

Laura Ashley is back

In 2020, the British retailer announced it was seeking a $30 million ’emergency’ loan, but subsequently collapsed. “The Covid-19 outbreak has had an immediate and significant impact on trading, and ongoing developments indicate that this will be a sustained national situation,” explained a spokesperson for the brand in 2020.

The firm converted the business into an asset-light operation, which included a full-scale redevelopment of its online platform.  The business then spent the months of 2020 and 2021 operating with digital front of mind as the pandemic forced stores to shut in the UK and Ireland. According to Gordon Brothers, online sales were ‘strong’ with ‘solid results’ out of the home and fashion areas.

“For almost 70 years, Laura Ashley’s iconic, quality-led designs, prints and patterns have continued to inspire the most coveted styles and fashion trends around the world,” explained Tim Smith, the VP at IMG. “We are eager to leverage this rich heritage and the Laura Ashley archive, comprising more than 98,000 pieces of unique artwork, textiles and footage, to develop relevant new fashion and lifestyle products for existing and new fans of the brand.”

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