Laua Ashley Holdings Plc has decided to close its Regent Street, London store as a result of a raise in rent. The Queen of England’s property estate raised the rent for the first time in 48 years. The rent on the Laura Ashley store was increased 19 times, making continued business less than appealing. Chief executive Lilian Tan said in an interview with Bloomberg: “Because of the rent increase, we find it not possible to work there anymore. If you look at Dickins & Jones, they have had the same problem.”

Indeed, Laura Ashley’s decision follows the House of Fraser Plc’s announcement that it will close its 170-year-old Dickins & Jones store on Regent Street because of the increased rent costs. Dickins & Jones had first hit hard times when the rent was raised in May 2002.

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Tan revealed that the Laura Ashley store on nearby Oxford Street would continue operations and that the company did not rule out opening another London outlet elsewhere some time in the future. Laura Ashley shares rose 0.75 pence, or 5.6 per cent. The company’s market value currently amounts to GBP 106.3 million.