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Laura Ashley Home Mounts a Comeback

Gordon Brothers has relaunched the British home brand Laura Ashley with a spring 2021 collection available online and in select Next plc stores.

GB said a selection of products also will be available in 48 Next stores nationwide, as well as at a dedicated, flagship “store-in-store” in London’s Westfield Shepherds Bush, once lockdown restrictions are lifted. The product line includes signature prints, indoor and outdoor furniture, lighting, mirrors, soft furnishings, made-to-measure curtains and more, GB said. The current collection features classic Laura Ashley merchandise, along with some new designs.

“This is an exciting step in the evolution of Laura Ashley, and we look forward to continuing to grow the brand in its new form,” Tobias Nanda, president, brands at Gordon Brothers, said. “The Next partnership is the perfect way to reconnect the brand with its customers and develop new opportunities that will take Laura Ashley forward into new sectors.”

“We are delighted to see Laura Ashley back in stores where it belongs,” said Poppy Marshall-Lawton, Laura Ashley’s head of brand and partnerships. “We are confident our new collection of signature patterns and styles, alongside the stunning new designs that draw on our archival heritage, will inspire and excite Laura Ashley fans of old and introduce us to new customers as well.”

The American restructuring and investment firm, known for liquidating ailing companies, acquired the Laura Ashley brand and intellectual property for an undisclosed sum in April 2020, one month after its collapse into administration, equivalent to a bankruptcy in the U.S.

Subsequent to the acquisition, GB signed a licensing agreement with Next plc in October to reintroduce the Laura Ashley home products online and in the U.K. and Ireland, where the chain has over 500 stores.

“The partnership with Next is an important part of the brand’s evolution and generating a licensees portfolio to build strategic wholesale and retail relationships,” GB said.

There was no comment from either GB or Next by press time on what the timelime might be for the home brand’s introduction to additional Next stores beyond the initial 48 locations.

The Laura Ashley brand was founded in 1953 by Bernard and Laura Ashley and sold globally in markets including South Korea, the Ukraine, the U.S. and Japan.