High-street chain Laura Ashley is making up to 90 people redundant at two of its Welsh factories following a review of operating costs.

The company aims to carry out the redundancies at its Newtown and Carno factories in the next four or five weeks.

The move marks an about turn on its assurances in 2003 that employees would be unaffected by the decision to shut most of its European branches.
The company said in a statement: "Laura Ashley Ltd, and its subsidiary Texplan Manufacturing Ltd, has announced the outcome of a review of operating costs at its sites in Newtown and Carno.

"The review is part of a cost reduction programme which has been in place over the past 18 months to improve Laura Ashley's financial performance amidst challenging conditions in the retail marketplace".

It added: "As a result of this review, the companies have announced proposals to make 80-90 redundancies at these sites over the next 4-5 weeks, subject to a period of consultation with those employees who are potentially affected by the proposals."

In April this year Laura Ashley reported full-year profits of £3.1m against a £4.9m loss in 2003.