THE QUINTESSENTIAL ENGLISH RETAILER
1953: Bernard and Laura Ashley begin printing textiles on the kitchen table of their attic apartment in London.
1955: Limited company, formed in 1974, moves to larger premises in Kent.
1968: First shop opens in London.
1971: First licensing operations set up in Australia, Canada, and Japan.
1972: Overseas shops open in Geneva and Amsterdam, followed by rapid expansion worldwide, with 40 shops by 1975.
1975: Sales reach 25 million British pounds as company celebrated its 25th anniversary. Range of perfumes introduced.
1985: Laura Ashley dies. Company goes public.
1986: In first year, 131.5 British pounds million sales announced.
1988: Volume increases to more than 200 million British pounds, with 400 shops worldwide.
1991: Jim Maxmin becomes CEO and starts major restructuring and consolidation after a three-year deficit.