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LAURA ASHLEY AND FEDERAL EXPRESS BUSINESS LOGISTICS ANNOUNCE GLOBAL ALLIANCE

          LAURA ASHLEY AND FEDERAL EXPRESS BUSINESS LOGISTICS
                       ANNOUNCE GLOBAL ALLIANCE
    /NOTE TO EDITORS:  The following was released earlier in London./
    LONDON, March 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Federal Express Business Logistics, a division of Federal Express Europe Inc., and Laura Ashley Holdings plc jointly announced in London today that they have formed a worldwide alliance to restructure and manage the flow of goods and information within the Laura Ashley supply chain.
    Laura Ashley's existing logistics are complex, costly and inefficient.  The company operates stores in 28 countries, sources from suppliers located all over the world and brings its products to market in a variety of ways, including home delivery.  All these activities will now fall within the alliance.  Business Logistics and Laura Ashley will establish joint operating and systems teams to improve the operation of Laura Ashley's global logistics function.
    This agreement is a critical step in Laura Ashley's "Simplify, Focus and Act" program launched in September by the new chief executive, Jim Maxmin.  The benefits to Laura Ashley include the following:
    -- Savings from the simplification of the existing supply chain amounting to 10 percent to 12 percent of total distribution costs (based on like-for-like service levels), as well as substantial reductions in working capital.
    -- Access to the global systems of Federal Express.  This will provide Laura Ashley with leading-edge distribution systems within a short time frame.  At a minimum this will save Laura Ashley three million pounds sterling in planned systems development costs.
    -- The ability to improve customer service, with the objective of being able to deliver anywhere in the world within 24 to 48 hours, if required, by September 1993.
    -- Enable Laura Ashley management to focus on areas of core competence.
    -- The key systems infrastructure to enable flexible response and the opportunity for new initiatives, such as worldwide mail order.
    The alliance is intended to be of indefinite duration, but has a contract period of 10 years.  During this period, Laura Ashley estimates the value of the contract to Business Logistics at approximately 150 million pounds sterling.
    Business Logistics will continue to operate Laura Ashley's existing distribution center at Newtown in Mid Wales.  Laura Ashley will close its other distribution centers.
    Commenting on the alliance, Laura Ashley Chief Executive Jim Maxmin said: "This alliance gives us access to management systems and logistics capacity that we could never dream of developing ourselves.  It represents a quantum leap in our strategy of simplifying and focusing our operations.  We now have a unique opportunity to break new ground in developing a global mail order business with the objective of 48-hour delivery anywhere in the world.  The alliance opens the door to lower costs, enhanced delivery performance, higher stock turn and improved customer service.  It also enables us to focus our own resources on activity where we can add value to the core business."
    -0-                          3/19/92
    /CONTACTS: Jim Maxmin, David Oliver or Andrew Higginson of Laura Ashley Holdings, 011-44-628-39151; Jerry Seymour or Cameron King of Gavin Anderson & Co., 212-921-1060;  Charles Kirk or Robert Kelly, 011-44-203-643811, or Brent Meyers, 901-395-7112, all of Business Logistics/ CO:  Laura Ashley Holdings plc; Federal Express Business Logistics;
     Federal Express Europe Inc. ST:  Tennessee IN:  TRN SU:  CON SM -- NY022 -- 9552 03/19/92 09:43 EST
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 19, 1992
Words:538
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