Tuesday 31 March 2020 7:44 pm

Laura Ashley’s administrators make 268 staff redundant and furlough 1,700

The administrators of Laura Ashley said today they had made 268 staff redundant and placed 1,669 on furlough.

The staff being made redundant are drawn from across head office and back office functions.

The administrators said they were in continued discussions with interested parties over a sale of the business.

Rob Lewis and Zelf Hussain of PwC were appointed joint administrators to the retail chain last Monday.

All 147 Laura Ashley stores closed last week, with 70 shut following a review of their long-term viability and the rest based on government coronavirus advice.

The administrators said they anticipated reopening all stores for a period of time, either because they form part of the sale of the business or to sell through existing stock.

The administrators said 1,669 staff would be placed on furlough from today as part of the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme.

Under that programme staff are paid 80 per cent of salary up to £2,500 by the government through the company’s payroll.

The administrators continue to operate Laura Ashley’s online business, with employees working from home where possible.

Lewis said: “It is obviously disappointing to have to announce redundancies at what is already a challenging time for individuals dealing with covid-19 disruption.

“However, we have taken this difficult step to improve the viability of the business whilst we continue to engage with interested parties around a potential sale.”

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