The major objective of this paper is to provide an indication as to the manner in which an internationally successful brand retailer views its approach to the expansion of its image and trading base in the international market place. The Laura Ashley Group has grown rapidly on an international scale over the last decade. This growth has taken place in an environment which is, itself, becoming increasingly competitive and innovative in nature. Throughout the process of development the core management of the business feels it has gained a great deal of skill and knowledge, not only in relation to retailing within the international market, but also the building of a brand or lifestyle that its customers can relate to. Laura Ashley have a powerful brand image and recognise the requirement of ensuring this image is consistent around the world. In addition the Group also recognise the value of flexing its retail formula to meet the local market requirements rather than maintaining a constant, fixed package that suits no single market. The paper discusses the flexibility of the Group's marketing approach, gained through the separation of the brand and retailing components. This is discussed, not only in terms of providing an established concept with a greater chance of success in a new retail market place, but also the opportunities it creates in relation to the generation of further retail concepts and sub-brands. This innovation flexibility allows the Group to realise greater potential on an international scale than that that may accrue from a process of opening up additional retail outlets carrying a retail name. In essence Laura Ashley are selling a lifestyle concept.
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