December marks not only the end of the year but the end of the line for a fashion and homewares retailer, after administrators failed to find a buyer to save the chain from collapse.
Laura Ashley, which has 17 stores in Australia, including its Melbourne showroom and emporium, went into administration in 2016, was resurrected only to again fall into administration on 3 December this year.
But according to the retailer’s administrators KordaMentha Restructuring, there will be no more second chances and all stores will close by month’s end.
“Despite a number of parties engaging in an Expression of Interest process, there was no offer for the business as a going concern,” administrator Craig Shepard said in a statement.
“Laura Ashley customers are invited to shop for a Christmas bargain. We thank all the loyal staff for their support of the brand during the administration.”
The store network had spanned all states and the ACT, although the Brisbane store has already closed its doors. The others face “an orderly closure” over the remaining two weeks of 2018.
All of Laura Ashley’s 100 Australian employees are affected by the shutdown, but KordaMentha noted that Laura Ashley operated in Australia under a licence from the UK, with the parent company not affected by the local brand’s closure.
The retailer’s social media accounts have also been removed.
According to Mr Shepard, the reasons for the collapse of the local business are all too familiar ones on the retail scene: intense competition from online, rising costs and a soft retail climate.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.