Laura Ashley set for administration but hotels and tea rooms unaffected

17 March 2020 by
Laura Ashley set for administration but hotels and tea rooms unaffected

Retail brand Laura Ashley has announced its intention to appoint administrators, however the Laura Ashley hotels and tea rooms are unaffected.

There are two Laura Ashley hotels: the Belsfield in Windermere, Cumbria, and the Iliffe hotel in Coventry, both of which are owned and operated by Corus Hotels. Its Burnham Beeches hotel near Slough was due to rebrand. The seven Laura Ashley tea rooms across the country are operated under licence. Corus has said its hotels and the Laura Ashley tea rooms operating within its properties are unaffected.

David Westerby, chief executive of Corus and Laura Ashley Hotels, said in a statement: "Laura Ashley The Tea Room (Solihull, Coventry and Burnham) and Laura Ashley Hotels (The Belsfield and The Iliffe) are operated by Corus Hotels and are not affected by this news. We look forward to continuing to welcome guests to our properties."

Nick Turner, managing director of OM Group, which franchises the tea rooms, said: "Naturally we in OM Group are devastated that the LA brand has been hit with a perfect storm of ongoing retail headwinds and now growing paralysis of the economy which has sadly led to LA seemingly running out of road with its current financial arrangements.

"We understand that a race is on to find a new LA owner during this month as the LA brand is a unique global super brand in retail space but more interestingly now on the growing hospitality side which has largely been driven and rolled out by OM Group.

"OM Group will continue to roll out unbranded Tea Rooms for the UK hotel and resort market separately from LA and will continue to support owners with the development of these new ventures during 2020."

According to a Stock Exchange announcement by the fashion group, for the seven weeks up to 13 March, trading for the whole business improved by 24% year-on-year.

However, the Covid-19 outbreak has had an "immediate and significant impact" on trading and, based on the company's revised cashflow forecasts and the increased uncertainty facing the group, it said it expects that it will not be in a position to draw down additional funds from third-party lenders in a timely manner sufficient to support working capital requirements.

As a result, the company has filed notices of intention to appoint Robert Lewis and Zelf Hussain as administrators, making it the first retail casualty of the coronavirus crisis.

Top of the shops: how Laura Ashley went from retail to rooms >>

Laura Ashley optimistic about hotel and tea brands as high street trading proves tough >>

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