British home and fashion retailer Laura Ashley has appointed IMG to exclusively license the brand in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
IMG will target the market through consumer home, fashion, beauty and lifestyle products that reflect Laura Ashley’s 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 all adorned by its signature designs, prints and patterns.
Sean Anglim, Chief Operating Officier of Laura Ashley, says: “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.”
Home décor and furnishings will be the initial core focus for Laura Ashley’s entry into mainland China.Increased purchasing power in China has led to the growth of the furniture market. Total sales of furniture manufacturing enterprises grew 10% year-on-year to more than $130 billion in 2017, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
Future extensions will target women’s apparel, fashion accessories and personal care – all product areas that the Laura Ashley brand has developed successfully in the UK, Europe and US.
Bruno Maglione, President of Licensing, IMG, says: “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 urbanization 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.”