Laura Ashley, the fashion and home retailer, saw its shares fall today by 41% when it announced that it was seeking further funding to help it continue trading in the face of a 11% fall in sales in the second half of 2019. The company made a loss of £14m on sales of £109m.
The fashion and home retailer said if it could not get the "requisite level of funding" then it would need to "consider all appropriate options".
The company is seeking additional funds from its bankers, Wells Fargo and its owners, the majority shareholder, the Malaysian group, MUI.
Laura Ashley employs 2,700 people in the UK and has 155 shops.
What is the problem at Laura Ashley?
In the 70's and 80's Laura Ashley had a big presence in the High Street and was a byeword in quality and unique British fashion. However it has failed to adapt and perhaps slim down quickly as it has since gone into administration twice. Other brands like Cath Kidson, Oliver Bonas, Orla Keily have started to occupy their niche and with the relentless pressure on the High Street from the internet and rising costs, they are having to raise money. Back in 2018 the company had a big push into Asia reflecting the ambitions of its Malaysian owners.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show internet sales have increased 208% in the last 10 years with online retail purchases taking a 21.3% slice of overall sales in December last year alone.