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.

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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.

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