Laura Ashley A Recognizable Fashion Brand Commerce Essay

Laura Ashley, one of today ‘s most recognizable manner and place trappingss trade names was founded by Laura and her hubby Bernard Ashley. Their inaugural enjoyed immense success on and by 1970 when gross revenues had reached ?300,000 and a big figure of stores were opening. Licensing operations brought about the gap of section shop grants in Australia, Canada and Japan in 1971, while farther stores opened in Paris and San Francisco in 1974, and UK store gaps continued with a retribution. The Company was listed to the Alternative Investment Market of London Stock Exchange on 5 December 1985. ( Laura Ashley Official Website, 2009 )

1.2 Business Summary

Laura Ashley Holdings plc is engaged in the design, industry, sourcing, distribution and sale of vesture, accoutrements and place trappingss. The Company has four divisions: Home Accessories ( 30 % ) , Furniture ( 28 % ) , Decorating ( 23 % ) and Fashion ( 19 % ) . ( Laura Ashley Osiris Financials, 2009 ) It operates through retail and non-retail operations. Retail operations include Laura Ashley ‘s managed shops, mail order and E-commerce, while non -retail operations include licensing, franchising and fabricating. As of January 26, 2008, the Company ‘s belongings portfolio in the United Kingdom included 208 shops, with three chief shop types: assorted merchandise shops ( selling all merchandise classs ) ; place shops ( selling the full scope of place merchandises ) , and 31 place grant shops. ( Laura Ashley Annual Report, 2009 )


2.1 Political Factors

The Political state of affairs of a state emphasizes on:

Role of authorities

Its impact in a company or house

The UK authorities makes certainly that the market is unfastened to fair and healthy competition therefore naming modulating organic structures such as ASA, Competitions Appeal Tribunal, Competition Commission, Department for Business, Enterprise & A ; Regulatory Reform and many others to supervise the actions and policies of companies. At the same clip, they are willing for people to put in the current economic system to mount out of the economic depression and hence provide inducements such as VAT relaxation, conveyance subsidies and high investing returns to do concerns more profitable1. The rapid development of the UK markets and the tightening of trade barriers in many European states have created an chance for local companies. The adulthood and the slow growing in the UK apparels retail sectors for female population and furniture and place decor have made Laura Ashley expression for new investing ventures. Recent studies suggest that many family trade names are be aftering to switch their focal point on Men ‘s Manner markets where consumers, with turning disposable incomes, are acute to pass. Even though the political conditions are favorable, there still might be some legal barriers left for enlargement to be profitable. Even though states like UK and France have tightened trade barriers they are still cautious that foreign participants will supply tough competition to go a market leader. Furthermore, it is expected that UK will fasten foreign investing Torahs, therefore making jobs for international trade names who seek enlargement here. ( Fuller & A ; Arnold, 2007 )

2.2 Economic Factors

The economic system ‘s current province of recession is puting a heavy toll on all concerns. Harmonizing to recent studies Laura Ashley store gross revenues fell 6.2 per cent in the 53-week period despite entire UK shop gross revenues leaping 10.8 per cent and cyberspace gross revenues rocketing 65.4 per cent. Laura Ashley said that since December, gross borders had come under force per unit area due to “ the continued impairment of the UK economic system, its impact on the retail sector and consumer assurance, the failing of sterling and increased promotional activity ” ( Harrison, 2009 ) . Despite the volatile economic system, Laura Ashley is in a strong place because their merchandises have really high perceived value from their clients. Their extremely differentiated ware and the trueness of their clients can prolong them even in the economic recession. When the economic system falters, consumers merely purchase less and may travel a greater portion of their billfold to less-stylish and lower-cost offerings from deep discount houses like ASDA or Tesco. Laura Ashley is peculiarly susceptible to these conditions because their merchandises are chiefly in the upper monetary value scope. Expansion in the targeted market will supply the house with more sustainability if they may digest down bends in any other merchandise. ( Laura Ashley Annual Report, 2009 )

2.3 Socio – Cultural

The UK market for apparels is altering. The focal point on design is turning, and as a effect there is a tendency for clients to show themselves with the expression of what they are have oning. In add-on, figures point that this peculiar demographic is turning ( Datamonitor, 2008c ) . Laura Ashley ‘s fabric merchandises are specifically tailored to provide for this demographic and their apprehension of the purchasing forms of UK clients, both for apparels retail merchandises and furniture merchandises conveying sustained benefits to the company. Trend exist in the UK market that immature people between 20-40 patronize UK a batch and prefer to purchase merchandises which carry a local label instead than choosing for a foreign trade name.

In add-on, to their good appreciation of the demographics of the UK market, Laura Ashley attempt to follow the success of franchises such as Topshop, Esprit and Zara by exchanging their focal point from traditional wear and presenting more stylish vesture. To what extent they win is problematic, as Laura Ashley ‘s merchandises are reasonably priced, unlike the low monetary value offered by the likes of Topshop, Espirt and Zara. ( Beatty, 2003 )

2.4 Technological

Technological alterations over the last few old ages have made a important impact on the manner houses do concern and on the merchandises and services every bit good. ( Barney & A ; Hesterly, 2008 ) As with other retail concern operators, the Internet, and more exactly, on-line shopping creates chance for Laura Ashley to spread out their market portion. Harmonizing to recent fiscal studies, Laura Ashley ‘s good online shopping service has brought them important fiscal benefits even in the period of planetary recession. Customers have become more and more accustomed to shopping from place, and this is particularly true for the company ‘s manner merchandises Keeping in head that the targeted market is largely pupils and working professionals who do n’t acquire clip from their activities so really frequently, it provides an efficient and profitable manner to market their portfolio to these people. Gross saless at Laura Ashley jumped 8.4 per cent since the beginning of 2009, chiefly due to an 11 % addition in on-line and mail orders. ( Retail Week, 2009 )

2.5 Environmental

UK is seen as a taking participant in battling the issue of inauspicious clime alterations all over the Earth. And to keep repute and turn to the issues there are legion steps it has taken over the old ages to do operations in the state eco-friendly. Companies such as Laura Ashley are no exclusion. The C emanations from their fabrication workss every bit good as the transit system are closely monitored, as is the instance with every other company. The same mentality is found in the people specially the coevals which is coming up as they are witnessing the drastic alterations and acquiring affected by it. Laura Ashley is respected as one of the most responsible Manner maker. Laura Ashley is one of the innovators in traveling green. In autumn 2007, the house ‘s CEO unveiled an environmental scheme that includes the usage of renewable energy systems at logistics Centres including the debut of biodiesel for the houses trucking fleet. It gives a batch of attending to sustainable direction of all its operations.

This factor serves as an added value factor for the company to pull more consumers every bit good as maintain the trueness of the clients.

2.6 Legal

The legal system of UK is really consumer friendly. It provides small or no aid when we talk about retail merchants. As per the legal system, a client can return the purchased goods within a specific clip period which is offered by every retail merchant as a compulsory demand ( Office of Fair Trading, 2009 ) . So many retail merchants see a batch of returns coming back, hence cut downing the sale borders.

The staff that is employed has to be paid a National lower limit pay as per the legal system and there are complex contractual statute laws in topographic point which give an upper manus to the employees.

As an employer and as a concern, there should be proper wellness and safety regulations in topographic point to protect the workers every bit good as the clients, failure of which can take to legal cases which is going a common tendency presents.

But since the beginnings of the company are Welsh, it does n’t happen it hard to get by with these legal issues in topographic point and have showed utmost employee satisfaction, both, in footings of occupation every bit good as working conditions. The big base of loyal clients speaks for itself about the intervention they have given to their clients over decennaries.


3.1 Criteria for Choosing New Suppliers

Quality: Quality is one of the major issues that would be kept in head while choosing possible providers. To bring forth more net incomes, Laura Ashley need to supply more value for money and this could be done by bettering the quality of their merchandises. It is so frequently said that people and organisations likewise are measured by what they create and what they do and this is no different in this instance. This besides enables to vie with high value trade names and work forces might choose for Laura Ashley if the difference in quality is non that important. It is non merely limited to the quality of the merchandise but besides includes the services which they provide to Laura Ashley and doing certain that criterions are met in consequently.

Speed: This is of import to run into clients ‘ demands on clip. In busy periods like Christmas and Easter, there might be a rush in volumes expected and the provider should possess the ability to run into those demands

Dependability: Dependability is taken to be a more of import property than public presentation. And arguably the most of import standards when choosing a possible provider. Suppliers should be hold

Handiness: The ability of the system to present as and when services requested e.g. rush in volumes

Dependability: The ability of the system to present services as specified e.g. in a peculiar part

Safety: The ability of the system to run without ruinous failure e.g. through bad economic conditions

Security: The ability of the system to protect against inadvertent or calculated invasions e.g. mill fire

Flexibility: As said in old times, flexibleness comes with clip. In this concern, it is nonmeaningful because your first feeling is the last feeling. The possible provider should be flexible plenty to supply

Product service: Guaranting that they cater all the service petitions put forth by Laura Ashley

Merchandise Mix: Ensuring that they have adequate discrepancy and diverseness in the stuffs that they supply e.g. to provide different age groups

Volume: Can get by with times when demand is high and can keep idea he periods when the demand is low e.g. economic recession

Delivery: Ensuring that bringing is done when and wheresoever required. There might be mercantile establishments in metropoliss where they do n’t hold a distribution Centre. So the provider should hold adequate resources to present to those countries.

Cost: As said before, the provider should be cost effectual. There should be if non favorable so perfect balance between the cost and the quality of the supplies. If the provider has high costs, so automatically the net incomes borders go down. Having said that, it is besides non expected that there should be a large via media on quality to convey down the cost.

Location: Since Laura Ashley is a planetary trade name, it has its treating mercantile establishments in assorted locations. Suppliers should be able to provide all locations and if non, so should hold other contractors who meet the same criterions to function those locations.

Transportation system: The provider should do certain that it has ample fleet to transport the supplies. Reliance on private services is non unafraid as there might be events which could take to disruption in supply e.g. recent air work stoppages by BA, volcanic eruption doing air traffic to a arrest. The possible provider is expected to see through these and other sorts of menaces that might take to cut supplies to Laura Ashley.

JIT: This is another critical factor in taking a provider. JIT refers to Just in clip which means that treating Centres are supplied whenever there is a demand. The chief purpose of this choice standard is to cut down the sum of money that is being spent to purchase natural stuffs. This allows Laura Ashley to put whenever there is a alteration in tendency or if they want to put in some other concern venture. Expenses are cut farther down by holding less storage infinite, less staff rewards and more significantly less losingss that occur to hive away natural stuffs.

Diverseness: The provider should be able to recognize the fact that UK is a really diverse state and people from many states from all over the universe semen here to work, analyze and see. Every state has their ain manner tendency which in many instances is related to what they wear e.g. in Russia people prefer to have on warm apparels as they experience a really rough and long winter whereas people from Pakistan may wish lighter and more relaxed vesture as the temperature is really pleasant.

So there is a diverse mix of cloths that can be required and the provider should be able to supply this.

3.2 Supply Chain Diagram

Internet Fashion tips. Display thoughts, Young Enthusiastic Staff, Refunds and Exchanges

Orders delivered on clip. Cardinal Distribution Centre designed around merchandise bringing

Control, Coordination, Accessories Outsourced, Pre cut Fabric Packs, Quick Response, Low Cost, Quality Control

Low Level Stock Holding. Prediction can be done easy


Fabric Acquired in different colorss and types

Customer Services Management

Value Delivery: Distribution


Order Assembly and stock list direction


Product Specialisation & A ; Design

3.3 Suggestions for type of supply concatenation direction

“ A 5 % decrease in costs can hold the same consequence on the bottom line as a 25 % addition in turnover ” ( Chris Hicks, 2009 )

External Supply concatenation direction ( ESCM ) which involves relationship with other companies: relationship with clients through market gross revenues and relationship with providers through procurance.

Internal supply concatenation direction ( ISCM ) which involves different concerns, fabricating units and sections within one company.

For a company like Laura Ashley, it is good to follow an external supply concatenation direction system. The advantages of following this outweigh the disadvantages significantly. The first and first advantage is that of cost. Operating in ESCM, Laura Ashley does n’t hold to use permanent or contracted staff in the same capacity as it would make in ISCM. There would be less revenue enhancement collectible and operating cost would be reduced well. Second, choosing possible providers harmonizing to the factors antecedently discussed, the concern would profit from flexibleness, dependableness and would be more diversified. Last, the company can travel on to hold healthy relationships with other industry spouses and future confederations are a feasible option.

On the other manus, ISCM has its ain advantages. It would supply Laura Ashley with more independency. Dependability on providers would be reduced. Everything done in-house would besides cut down the cost but non to the degrees ESCM would make. Besides, trust on external beginnings would diminish. But maintaining in head the fact the current economic conditions, there are few companies who can afford to take the load of operating in ICSM. Employee rewards, benefits, runing costs, revenue enhancements and increasing competition in market has made it hard to prolong as “ one large unit ” . ( Douglas Lambertz, 2005 )


4.1 Menace of Entry

The vesture and furniture market in the UK is really competitory, with low entry and exist costs. Even though growing is on a diminution, the vesture and furniture market in the UK is really moneymaking for new entrants due to the low entry costs and the deficiency of important investing required. ( Datamonitor, 2008c )

Even though the menace of entry is by and large high, Laura Ashley ‘s differentiated merchandises create a barrier of entry for new consumers. The merchandise distinction of Laura Ashley ‘s ware, particularly with respect to their furniture, is valued really extremely by their clients. This type of merchandise distinction is frequently rather difficult to copy by new entrants and therefore the menace of entry for Laura Ashley is well lower than for other participants who sell less differentiated merchandise. ( Barney & A ; Hesterly, 2008 )

In add-on, Laura Ashley was founded in 1953, and for most of their being they have been among top market performing artists. In those 6 decennaries they were able to derive the blessing of battalion of repetition clients this making first-class trade name repute and client trueness. This represents an extra barrier of entry for new participants in the market. ( Laura Ashley Annual Report, 2009 )

4.2 Menace of Rivalry

The UK market is extremely fragmented with a by and large slow industry growing. That leads to highly ferocious competition, as many companies are combating over market portion. The industry is characterized by frequent monetary value cutting by houses, intense advertisement runs and rapid competitory actions and reactions in the industry. ( Laura Ashley Annual Report, 2009 )

Laura Ashley ‘s ability to distinguish their merchandises enables them to demand a higher monetary value of their merchandises and non be caught in the monetary value war. Equally long as they can keep the high value perceptual experience of their merchandises and go on to be lead discriminators in the furniture market the menace of competition will be comparatively low, sing the turbulent market. ( Barney & A ; Hesterly, 2008 )

In the vesture market Laura Ashley efforts to diversify its merchandises by including more stylish apparels, suited for the younger demographic. However, this scheme may be construed as hazardous because it endangers the client perceptual experience of the trade name. ( Beatty, 2003 )

4.3 Menace of Substitutes

Laura Ashley is comparatively safe from replacement merchandises because their merchandises are already different in the perceptual experience of their clients. It is difficult to replace a extremely differentiated merchandise. ( Barney & A ; Hesterly, 2008 )

4.4 Menace of Suppliers

Laura Ashley is a really large client for its providers therefore they can bask a really safe place with respect to the menace of providers. Whereas, for providers Laura Ashley is a large an of import client, for the company itself it is rather easy to exchange their provider. That enables them to demand better monetary values and quality from their provider. ( Datamonitor, 2008c )

4.5 Menace of Buyers

The menace of purchasers in the market is really high, and even though Laura Ashley is in a better place than less differentiated rivals, there is still a batch of competition even in the high value – high monetary value market niche. In add-on there is no added cost in the industry for the clients to alter their provider. ( Datamonitor, 2008c )


The technique to place hazard and assess factors endangering the success of the undertaking or obstructions in accomplishing ends is known as Business Risk Analysis. This besides helps in the designation of steps to decrease the chance of the happening of these factors and acknowledge countermeasures to cover with these restraints efficaciously. In instance of Laura Ashley, the undermentioned hazards have been identified that the market will confront with the coveted schemes to get the better of them.

Competition: Competition from rival trade names is the biggest menace that Laura Ashley has. Trade names such as Primark and Madhouse have outsourced their production to cheaper states like China and Bangladesh. This has enabled work forces to purchase inexpensive apparels and be stylish at the same clip. This can merely be eliminated by viing with them on cost effectivity and supplying more value for money. Some portion of the production line can be outsourced by Laura Ashley to vie in this respect but the inquiry remains if that would stand up to the quality criterions of Laura Ashley and would it go on to hold the same trade name value.

Lack of accomplishments: The UK market presently has a deficit of proficient expertness. The times in front see UK as reliable on foreign expertness influentially from Asia. This poses a hazard as Laura Ashley might hold to pay high wages and benefits to pull applied scientists, interior decorators and workers from abroad. Training people and nurturing endowment is a reasonable manner to provide the future demand of experts in this field

Loss of assets: Assetss might be lost to any unobserved fortunes. Companies such as BP have suffered immense losingss in past five old ages due to fire and inadequate steps to command them. This is the ground that the ruddy tape industry in UK emphasizes so much on Health and Safety and hence safeguards have to been taken which are dearly-won and cut down the efficiency. With proper SHE analysis, this can be reduced and there should be plenty packaged finished merchandise in shops to run into the demands.

Suppliers: Suppliers can be a benefit to Laura Ashley every bit good as a menace. With better quotation marks from rival houses they can convey about alterations into the supply concatenation taking to a autumn in retailing. Examples of this includes Following and Marks and Spencer who experienced this in 2007 ( Datamonitor, 2007 ) and saw a steep autumn in gross revenues. The hazard can be reduced by holding more than one provider at a clip, doing them vie for orders and guaranting supply every bit good.

Production bringing failure: Failure to bring forth the volumes in clip would see client dissatisfaction which could stop up in lower turnover. Contractors can be arranged to guarantee that whatever is produced is delivered on clip and there are no holds from the production line to the mercantile establishment shelves.

High care cost: Care of retail mercantile establishments, production installation, and bringing fleet and storage houses is really of import. If non decently maintained, this can incur heavy losingss. Annually or half annual cheques should be carried out to guarantee the assets are running in good status.

Fiscal instability: The economic downswing has seen many retail mercantile establishments near e.g. Woolworths. In this period of fiscal depression, people might halt disbursement and hence affect the grosss generated. By maintaining varied manner points aiming different subdivisions of age groups, gross revenues can be increased e.g. supplying stylish vesture for 25-30 twelvemonth olds, Formal suiting and shirts for 30-40 twelvemonth old and a more sober and nice closet for 35-45 can pull more clients. Besides presenting accoutrements to complement apparels such as scarves, ties, cufflinks and under garments can increase gross revenues.

Outsourcing: Many challengers have outsourced their full production line. This has led to really competitory market conditions. Retailers such as BHS and Primark rely to a great extent on this. They make usage of inexpensive labor in foreign states and so can sell at better rates than Laura Ashley. To get the better of this job, It is suggested that Laura Ashley may outsource some of its production line in order to vie on degree footings with other retail merchants.

Changing Fashion Tendencies: Fast altering tendencies has made people spend well less at any given clip. Sing the fact that it is 25-45 age group that Laura Ashley is aiming, manner alterations really rapidly in this peculiar and people falling in this class are more witting about this fact. It is non deemed a good pattern to stock up shelves with a humdrum manner of vesture. Introducing stylish vesture at regular intervals would function as an attractive factor for clients.

Environmental: Weather plays an indirect function as a menace. Extreme wintry conditions see less people buy less stylish apparels and disposition additions towards over coats and jackets. As mentioned before, maintaining a fluctuation of retail merchandises in mercantile establishments can invalidate this hazard. Introduction of seasonal aggregation earlier than other retail merchants can take to a strong merchandising tendency and at the same clip construct a strong client base.

There are several other hazards involved which do n’t impact the market straight but they do hold an consequence. Skiding value of the Sterling Pound, lifting rising prices, higher bank involvement rates and non-availability of finance in the market besides disturb the economic balance and decreasing the purchasing power of the clients. These hazards are arguably common to the market instead than to a peculiar retail merchant and therefore hold a lesser consequence than the remainder.

6 Stakeholders

The primary secondary and third stakeholders of Laura Ashley are identified as:

6.1. Primary Stakeholders

Owners and stockholders


Employees and staff

6.2. Secondary Stakeholders




6.3. Third Stakeholders

Government ( national and local )

Local community

Suppliers of providers

Stock market


6.4. Expectations of Primary Stakeholders:

Owners and stockholders of Laura Ashley have a typical fiscal involvement in the company ‘s public presentation and growing. They have their money invested in the company and anticipate its growing and anticipate good returns on their investings. Stockholders expect returns in footings of the higher resale value of the portions and expect significant dividends. Whereas, the proprietors expect their company to turn and execute good against the competition and increase its market portions.

Directors, as internal stakeholders, want higher incomes, more powers and freedom in footings of determination devising, planning and control of operations. In other words they demand higher grades of duties as they have and extra responsibility of prolonging the wellness of the organisation by run intoing the demands of stockholders and employees.

Employees and staff are one of the premier stakeholders of any organisation. They look up to the organisation for better incomes, occupation security, publicities and growing chances, good working environment, periphery benefits, chances personal growing and preparation.

6.5. Expectations of Secondary Stakeholders:

Customers of Laura Ashley expect quality merchandises and services. They demand value for their money, certain supply of goods, assortment of merchandises and designs, true and comprehendible information about the merchandises, services and client policies. Besides, they expect Laura Ashley to be an pioneer in the market. They look for trade name prestigiousness and trade name value. They expect Laura Ashley to be a trade name with high trade name image.

Suppliers of Laura Ashley demand habitue and consistent concern at good net income borders. In other words they look for a long term concern relationship which such a esteemed trade name. They look for addition in the volumes of the order they receive. They expect speedy payments for their productions. Bing the providers of a taking trade name they expect Laura Ashley to offer them just monetary values. They want the trade name to thrive as it will take to more orders.

Distributors look frontward to the growing of concern and enlargement in the geographical countries they operate.

6.6. Expectations of Third Stakeholders:

The authorities wants all sorts of revenue enhancements ( both cardinal and local ) fluxing in to its militias from the concerns ; which include VAT ( Value Added Tax ) , Corporate Tax, Import responsibilities, Business Rates etc. The authorities demands Laura Ashley to adhere to the corporate Torahs and abide by the statute laws aimed at consumer protection, public assistance of employees and the local community. The authorities besides expect the company to follow with the Torahs aimed at environment protection and efficient usage of resources. The authorities wants Laura Ashley to thrive as it will assist in making more employment chances. Besides, the growing of Laura Ashley would lend to the national economic system.

The local community look frontward to the company for important figure of occupations for the local occupants. They look frontward to Laura Ashley to be an ethically sound company. They expect the company to safeguard the environment and avoid making pollution ( noise and land ) . They expect the company to work for the development of the society and demo a societal responsible behavior. The community besides wants a thriving concern from Laura Ashley, as it would give a push to the local concerns.

The providers of providers can be pointed out as the stakeholders as they want consistent concern.

The rise and autumn of stock market depends on the public presentation of the companies. Therefore people in the stock market want large companies to execute good as it will hold a positive impact on the whole market.

Rivals are “ corporate stakeholders with a claim to fair intervention ” ( Green, 1994 ) . In markets with concentrated client base, concern enlargement may look to be possible merely at the disbursal of rival ‘s success ( Spence et al. , 2002 ) . Therefore, rivals impact the manner a concern is run.

6.7. Vision Statement

“ Our end is to add value to the lives of:

Our employees by supplying equal chances of growing,

Our stockholders and concern spouses through moneymaking growing and invention,

Our clients, by supplying them value for their money, quality merchandises and first-class service,

Our providers and sub-suppliers through just and ethical trade,

The people around the universe by endeavoring for a cleansing agent, healthier and greener environment and a better universe to populate in with equal chances for all, ”

6.8. Mission Statement

“ Our purpose is to present a sensational shopping experience offering the finest scope of menswear, highest criterion of service and top quality merchandises. ”

6.9. Social Conformity Policy

There should be a clear and typical Social Conformity policy of any company as it helps to reenforce the trust of stakeholders in the company.

For the providers to be qualified as the concern spouses with the company, they should do certain that they implement ethical patterns within their fabrication installations. They should non use kid labor. They should supply their work force carnival rewards, hygienic, clean and safe on the job conditions. Besides, they should guarantee that they are non damaging the environment in any manner. The providers should guarantee that their sub-suppliers are following the same ethical and environmental patterns.

6.10. Decision

Laura Ashley Holdings has faced the troubles of the current economic conditions, ensuing from the all-so-famous recognition crunch. The company was peculiarly hit by the reduced consumer disbursement and the fluctuations of the Pound sterling. Still, it managed to remain flexible and competitory thanks to its healthy financials, chiefly in footings of the fact that no assets are financed by debt, and the successful scheme of distinction, shop use and publicity.