Laura Ashley sheds 11 stores as it exits Europe

Laura Ashley has sold 11 of its European stores for a token sum of EUR2 (£1.40), as part of its plans to concentrate on its UK business.

The clothing and homewares retailer has agreed the sale of three stores in Belgium, one in Luxembourg and seven in the Netherlands to Belgium-based investment group Laben Holdings. Laben has entered into a four-year franchise agreement with Laura Ashley.

In January this year, Laura Ashley announced it wanted to exit from its ailing European operations, but aims to secure franchise agreements where possible.

Last year, the businesses being disposed of made a loss before tax of£2.2 million.

Since January the group has closed 33 European shops.