The British home and fashion retailer Laura Ashley is looking to IMG to exclusively license the brand in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, through consumer home, fashion, beauty and lifestyle products that reflect its heritage and the regions’ growing market trends.
Founded in 1953 in a flat in Pimlico, London by the husband and wife team of Bernard and Laura Ashley, the brand began with printed fabrics and headscarves. Today Laura Ashley is internationally renowned for fabrics, home furnishings, apparel and accessories adorned with signature designs, prints and patterns.
Spying an opportunity in the growth of the furniture market in China, fuelled by increasing purchasing power in the region, Laura Ashley has underlined its plans for growth in the territory. Total sales of furniture manufacturing enterprises grew 10 per cent year-on-year to more than $130 billion in 2017, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
Home décor and furnishings will be the initial core focus for Laura Ashley’s entry into mainland China with future extensions into women’s apparel, fashion accessories and personal care – all product areas that the Laura Ashley brand has developed over its history in the UK, Europe and the United States.
Sean Anglim, chief operating officer of Laura Ashley, said: “We are delighted to have appointed IMG on an exclusive basis to help us develop our brand presence in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. We look forward to working closely with IMG to build a strong and sustainable business in these territories over the years to come.”
Bruno Maglione, president of licensing, IMG, added: “The Laura Ashley brand is loved around the world for its quintessentially English heritage and romantic floral designs. China has long been the furniture production capital of the world for export but now with urbanisation and a growing middle class, expenditure in home furnishings and décor has become an increasing priority of the Chinese consumer.
“This is an ideal time for a brand like Laura Ashley to enter the market with its distinctive design aesthetic.”