Laura Ashley appoints third administrator amid Covid-19 crisis

Embattled retailer Laura Ashley has appointed a third administrator amid growing pressure from the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the UK.

PwC has confirmed that Rachael Wilkinson, business restructuring services director at the firm, has been appointed to support the business during this time.

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She joins Rob Lewis and Zelf Hussain of PwC, who were appointed as joint administrators of Laura Ashley Holdings on 17 March when the company filed for administration.

At the time, the company revealed that, while trading had improved by 24% year-on-year for the seven weeks up to 13 March, as well as directors being “encouraged” by this strong performance, the Covid-19 outbreak has put a stop to the positive trading.

It added that based on the company’s revised cashflow forecasts and the increased uncertainty facing the group, 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”.

Laura Ashley said that “all available alternative options have been explored” and therefore, in order to protect creditors, it saw it as “necessary” to file a notice of intention to appoint administrators.

Additionally, on 1 April the joint administrators revealed they had made 268 members of staff redundant and have furloughed a further 1669.

The administrators said “regrettably” due to the financial position of the business, it was “not viable” to retain or furlough all employees.

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