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Laura Ashley to launch partnership with Next in high street return

Suban Abdulla
·2-min read
Laura Ashley will be relaunching under new owners Gordon Brothers, who acquired the brand in April. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
Laura Ashley will be relaunching under new owners Gordon Brothers, who acquired the brand in April. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Laura Ashley is set to return to UK high streets after it re-launched a partnership with clothes giant Next (NXT.L) after filing for administration in March.

The move will see Laura Ashley reintroduce its homeware into Next stores and online from spring 2021, after the retailers agreed a deal in October.

In March, the 67-year-old brand announced it would permanently close 70 stores, with plans to cut 268 office jobs and furlough more than 1,500 workers as it filed for administration.

At the time, bosses who hired accountancy firm PwC to advise on the administration process, blamed the impact of COVID-19 for tipping it over the edge.

Laura Ashley will be relaunching under new owners Gordon Brothers, who acquired the brand in April.

Head of brand and partnerships at Laura Ashley, Poppy Marshall-Lawton, said she is “very pleased” to be partnering with Next.

She said: “We felt partnering with such a dynamic and British retailer such as Next was the perfect progression. Laura Ashley herself was always inspired by the past but excited about the future, so getting the chance to reinvigorate the brand is a perfect new chapter in our already fabulous story.”

Next is “delighted” to be partnering with Gordon Brothers and Laura Ashley, chief executive Simon Wolfson said.

“We believe that the combination of the design vision of the Laura Ashley team alongside Next’s online and retail infrastructure can combine to revitalise this world-class brand,” Wolfson added.

READ MORE: Coronavirus pushes 11,120 UK shops to close

Earlier this month, a research by the Local Data Company (LDC) and PwC UK, revealed that the first half of 2020 saw a record number of store closures in the UK due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the study 11,120 chain operator outlets have shut so far this year, while 5,119 shops opened. This means a net decline of 6,001 — almost double the decline tracked in 2019.

But, the count could be higher as researchers did not take into account shops which have yet to reopen following the COVID-19 lockdown, with the grim expectation that many will never operate again.

The UK’s services sector, which included retail, hotels, banks and restaurants has been hammered by the impact of COVID-19 and national lockdowns. The industry amounts to almost 80% of the UK’s economy.

Watch: Why job losses have risen despite the economy reopening