Magazine article Marketing

Shake-Up for Laura Ashley

Magazine article Marketing

Shake-Up for Laura Ashley

Article excerpt

SHAKE-UP FOR LAURA ASHLEY

The Laura Ashley brand may move into several new product areas -- including goods sold in other outlets -- in a sweeping overhaul of its market positioning.

The move forms part of the international fashion and furnishing chain's first "integrated" marketing programme. It follows the appointment last month of Glenne Gibson, previously principal consultant within Coopers and Lybrand's retail group, to the new post of group market planning director (Marketing, March 21).

A market research project across the US and Europe is now underway to identify the value of the Laura Ashley brand. "We want to look at the brand's potential for expansion into other key markets and product areas," says Gibson. "But before we can exploit the brand we have to have the core values right."

New product categories would initially fall within the core Laura Ashley markets of women's fashion and home furnishings, but could move onto other "secondary products", according to Gibson.

New ways to exploit the brand in the UK have to be sought since there are already as many outlets as the country can support. Licensing products under the Laura Ashley name to be sold through other stores is under consideration.

The company, which began life on the kitchen table of its eponymous founder in 1953, suffered in the late 80s from rising rents, rates, wages and manufacturing overheads plus a production-led rather than marketing-led philosophy. …

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