Laura Ashley, the popular furniture and fashion retailer, has demanded an “immediate cost price reduction of 10%” from its suppliers, including on preexisting orders, according to a letter seen by the BBC.
The letter has prompted accusations of price gouging from the Forum of Private Businesses (FPB), who has also called it a “lazy and destructive” method of conducting business.
Laura Ashley, which has over 200 stores in the UK, blamed the rise on the “increasingly competitive” UK retail environment. It also said that the demands could prevent them from reviewing their supplier database and possibly cutting some firms loose.
The letter also blames online-only retailers and marketplaces for driving down retail prices, and claims that the cost reductions are “fair and equitable.”
In response to criticism from the FPB, Laura Ashley claimed that its relationships with suppliers were both strong and long-term.
A statement from the firm said, “We work closely with them to deliver the right products at the right prices for our customers and are having ongoing positive conversations with all our suppliers to ensure we keep doing this.”
The FBP is calling it one of the most egregious cases of supplier abuse they have ever seen.