// Laura Ashley files for administration, placing 2700 jobs at risk
// Comes as £15m lifeline rescue talks are shelved amid the coronavirus outbreak
// Laura Ashley says trading was up 24% year-on-year for the seven weeks to March 13
Laura Ashley has filed for administration, putting up to 2700 jobs at risk as it becomes the first UK retail casualty as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
The fashion and lifestyle retailer had reportedly been in talks with Homebase parent company Hillco Capital in a bid to secure a £15 million emergency loan, along with an unspecified third-party to fund its immediate working capital requirements.
However, today Laura Ashley said its “revised cash flow forecasts and increased uncertainty” mean it would not be able to secure these funds in sufficient time.
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The retailer also said the coronavirus crisis has “had an immediate and significant impact on trading, and ongoing developments indicate that this will be a sustained national situation”.
As a result, Laura Ashley confirmed its majority shareholder and third party lenders were unable to provide additional support.
It said it hired advisers from PwC to oversee the administration from today.
Despite this, Laura Ashley said it had seen an upturn in sales in recent weeks, with trading up 24 per cent year-on-year for the seven weeks to March 13.
The retailer operates 150 stores in the UK and employs around 2700 staff.