Laura Ashley plans return to advertising

Fashion retailer Laura Ashley is talking to agencies, in a move that could see it return to advertising for the first time in over two years.

The chain is understood to have held conversations with Ogilvy & Mather, Barker & Ralston and Bean Andrews Norways Cramphorn, and is thought to be close to making an appointment. BANC has been tipped as a frontrunner to pick up the account.

The advertising would run in three countries, including the UK. But a spokeswoman for the chain says no decision has been made on whether to appoint an agency. She says: “We have been talking to agencies, but we have not made a decision on an appointment.”

The retailer’s old agency was Harari Page, but Laura Ashley has not used it since the previous management team put it on hold during a review.

When Ann Iverson was appointed chief executive in July 1995, she continued the review of the business. This involved relaunching the Laura Ashley brand away from its tweedy, old-fashioned look and modernising its image.

Iverson, who joined from US retailer Kay-Bee Toys, had previously worked at Mothercare. At the beginning of last year, she brought in Patricia Manning, who she met at Mothercare, as global marketing director.

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