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Khoo to take axe to UK store network

Laura Ashley is to close a quarter of its UK stores as it looks to boost its presence in China.

The chain’s new chairman Andrew Khoo, who succeeded his father on Friday, said UK store numbers would fall from 160 to 120.

‘The direction I want to go is to have not so many stores, but maybe the ones we have could be larger. It’s more about showcasing the brand. It doesn’t really matter if they buy online or offline, we just want them to get inspired,’ he said.

He said it would look to attract shoppers in China online and then support this with stores.

‘We’re moving to Asia in a much bigger way. We have a regional office in Singapore, it’s a dedicated office of about 10 people and it’s focused purely on ecommerce into China. Once we get a significant foothold in digital retail in China we can look at the physical stores rollout.’