Laura Ashley will close 40 stores in UK
Laura Ashley is to close around 40 stores as the company's new chairman pushes ahead with a fresh vision for the brand, which includes expansion in China.
Andrew Khoo said he expects to reduce the number of UK stores from 160 to 120, continuing a strategy that has seen 40 retail units close since the beginning of 2015. The chain has four stores in Northern Ireland.
Mr Khoo, who took over as chairman of Laura Ashley's owner from his father Khoo Kay Peng last week, said: "The direction I want to go is to have not so many stores, but maybe the ones we have could be larger. It's more about showcasing the brand.
"It doesn't really matter if they buy online or offline, we just want them to get inspired."
He added that the group would look at moving staff from any stores which close to the enlarged shops.
Meanwhile, Laura Ashley will roll out bricks and mortar stores in China once it has built a significant online customer base.