Lifestyle retailer Laura Ashley is set to close almost a quarter of its UK stores, as the business’ new chairman ramps up Chinese expansion plans.
Andrew Khoo, the retailer’s new chairman, took over from his father Khoo Kay Peng who retired last week.
The Times reports that Khoo has announced plans to close around 40 of the retailers 160 UK stores. The remaining stores will be increased in size, taking on some of the staff whose jobs will be at risk from closures.
Khoo also highlighted the importance of Asian expansion, with plans to open stores in countries including China if the business first gains traction in the online market.
In August, it was reported that statutory pre-tax profit at Laura Ashley dived 98% to £100,000 in the year to 30 June 2018, down from £6.3m in 2017, on the back of a £5.5m charge for exceptional items.
Total like-for-like sales edged down 0.4%, while total group sales fell by 7% to £257.2m.
However, like-for-like fashion sales were up by 9.7% year on year and online sales were up 4.1% to £59.7m.