// Laura Ashley hires third joint administrator due to coronavirus-linked pressures
// The retailer appointed advisers from PwC when it filed for administration in March
Laura Ashley has appointed a third joint administrator as it faces increased pressure amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The lifestyle retailer appointed advisers from PwC when it filed for administration in March, blaming the impact of the pandemic on its demise.
It became the first coronavirus-linked casualty of the high street at the time of its administration.
Rob Lewis and Zelf Hussain of PwC were appointed joint administrators.
Laura Ashley sent an application for another joint administrator to be appointed during an insolvency court hearing on Thursday.
Madeleine Jones, counsel for the applicants, said that the application for a third administrator to be added was being made “out of an abundance of caution” as Lewis from PwC “has a lot of competing duties”.
This is “unsurprising” she said, given “the current economic crisis that is going alongside with the health crisis”.
She added that the application had not been made “out of any difficulty that has already arisen”.
The third administrator, Rachael Wilkinson, a PwC director, was appointed following a judge’s order.
Earlier this month, Laura Ashley said it would cut 268 jobs after initially announcing it would make up to 721 redundancies when the retailer first slid into administration.
Administrators said the redundancies will mainly affect staff in its headquarters and back office roles.
It comes after the retailer announced that it will permanently close 70 stores.
The administration came after a challenging period for Laura Ashley which saw pre-tax losses balloon to £4 million in 2019.
Other retailers to have been affected by the pandemic include department store chain Debenhams which filed for administration for the second time in a year, Oasis and Warehouse which fell into administration on Wednesday, and Cath Kidston which placed administrators on stand-by earlier this month.
with PA Wires