Ailing Laura Ashley puts hope in WCRS

WCRS has won the task of reviving the dismal fortunes of fashion retailer Laura Ashley.

The agency has been appointed to the company’s creative account, believed to be worth 1m, after a two-way battle against Leagas Delaney.

WCRS is expected to concentrate on building the Laura Ashley brand rather than its product range and will back the store refurbishment programme which began last year.

The appointment is the latest in a series of measures by the beleaguered clothes and home furnishings retailer aimed at arresting its decline.

It reported interim losses of 3.5m last year with a 17m loss predicted by some analysts this year and has appointed its sixth chief executive in as many years after the abrupt departure of Victoria Egan in January. Kwan Cheong Ng, Egan’s former boss at Laura Ashley’s Japanese owner MUI, replaced her.

Management reshuffles have also seen three marketing directors in the past three years. The agency review was part of an internal review under current marketing director Anne Donaghy, who has pledged a return to the company’s traditional roots. The company parted company with Bean Andrews Norways Cramphorn last May.

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