Fashion and home furnishings retail chain Laura Ashley, still convalescing from a near brush with insolvency last year, aims to extend its market reach via e-commerce. In partnership with e-tailing specialist Blueberry.Net, the retailer will this autumn launch an online shop to vend its product range.

Initially confined to the UK, the site will expand into continental Europe at a later date. Said the company yesterday: "Laura Ashley is strongly placed to move into e-commerce as it has an established and profitable mail order business and the back office infrastructure to support online sales."

The company, now more than 40% owned by Malayan United Industries, is moving towards recovery and in April announced better than expected sales figures, particularly in its home furnishings division.

News source: Financial Times