// Laura Ashley CEO Katharine Poulter made redundant
// She had only been made CEO in February, and has been with Laura Ashley since January
// Gordon Brothers only bought the brand, achives and IP of Laura Ashley when it bought it out of administration in April
Laura Ashley boss Katharine Poulter was reportedly among the staff made redundant last week when the retailer revealed a further 56 job cuts since its administration.
Poulter was only appointed chief executive at the end of February after chief executive and executive director Kwan Cheong Ng retired.
She joined Laura Ashley in January, and was previously managing director at Wilko.
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The latest tranche of redundancies announced last week all pertained to Laura Ashley’s head office and back office functions.
The fashion and homeware retailer had already scrapped 268 roles in April, shortly after it collapsed into administration in March.
Gordon Brothers acquired Laura Ashley out of administration in April, in a deal that included the retailer’s global brand, its archives and related intellectual property.
The deal did not include any of Laura Ashley’s 147 stores, nor its manufacturing and logistics operations in the UK or Ireland, and joint administrators from PwC are still seeking a buyer for this part of the business.
Poulter had sought a management buyout, with the help of private equity backer and Welsh government, of Laura Ashley’s stores, Newton manufacturing base, and its logistics operations, according to Drapers.
She also reportedly sought to increase the retailer’s existing manufacturing capacity and explore the onshoring of production back to Wales.
However, last week a sale did not eventuate and PwC said it was unable to retain staff not directly involved in the sale of existing stock.
Meanwhile, Laura Ashley stores in England began to reopen last week after being closed for three months as part of the government-mandated lockdown.
These stores will stay open for a period of time to clear stock or “because selected stores form part of a sale of the business”.
Laura Ashley’s website continues to operate as normal.