January 31, 2020 / 8:05 AM / 20 days ago

Laura Ashley CEO to step down after eight years at helm

FILE PHOTO: People walk past a Laura Ashley store in Kiev, Ukraine, March 30, 2016. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

(Reuters) - Laura Ashley Holdings Plc’s (ALY.L) chief executive officer, Kwan Cheong Ng, is stepping down after eight years at the helm, a departure that comes at a time when the clothing and furnishing retailer is trying to turn around its business.

Chief Operating Officer Katharine Poulter will take over the top job from May 1.

Laura Ashley, a favorite of Princess Diana in its 1980s heyday, has been one of the victims of the gloom that has shrouded Britain’s retail sector.

Sales at the company have been hit by store closures, weakness in its home furnishings business and a dampening consumer mood. However, it reported rising like-for-like sales in its fashion business in August, pointing to a resurgence in interest in its styles.

In October, the retailer replaced chief financial officer Seán Anglim, who had been with the company since 1998, and appointed Sagar Mavani as his replacement.

Reporting by Rishika Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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