Wilting English rose Laura Ashley must go back to its roots, says GlobalData


Following today’s release of Laura Ashley’s H1 figures for 2019/20, Georgina, associate retail analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, comments: ‘‘Laura Ashley’s £20m financing from Wells Fargo gives it a chance of recovery, however its results announced today reveal just how much work it will have to do to secure a long term future. Sales declined in all retail categories, which lent to group sales dropping from £122.9m in H1 2018/19 to £109.6m, and the home and fashion specialist suffering a loss of £4m before tax.

“Once a British icon, the brand has since lost its charm and notable styles. In an attempt to re-establish its footing in the ranks of British fashion, Laura Ashley recently announced a collection with British luxury brand, Barbour and collaborations with Urban Outfitters and Rag & Bone which will boost its relevance. The brand should consider a revival of its vintage pieces and prints that have been lost in the attempt at modernising its image. To garner attention, Laura Ashley should follow suit of Argos, and publicise the archives of its once famous home decoration catalogue, and create capsule collections inspired by its vintage past. To supplement its sustainability, which currently is only held up by its use of local suppliers, the brand should consider creating garments out of leftover, unwanted material, just as Laura Ashley did when the brand was founded.

“The hospitality arm of Laura Ashley is expanding: their portfolio consists of 10 tea rooms and three hotels, and it is currently exploring the option of expansion this year. Despite this, no figures have been released on its hospitality performance. It hopes to expand in the Asian market to offset the difficulty faced in the UK, however at this moment in time, coronavirus will likely delay such plans.”