STAFF at the Taunton branch of struggling retailer Laura Ashley heard today that the company had secured a loan in its bid for survival.

The BBC has reported that the company, which specialises in fashion, furniture and home accessories, had been in talks with Wells Fargo about a £20million loan facility.

Laura Ashley's major shareholder, Malaysian-based MUI, had held talks with the US bank about funds to enable it to continue trading following disappointing results last year and a major hit on its share price in the past five years.

The firm has told the London Stock Exchange the cash will help it "meet its immediate funding requirements".

Laura Ashley's Taunton store is on Belvedere Trading Estate, off Station Road, after moving there from the town's High Street several years ago.

The adjoining building on the tiny trading estate is currently vacant after the Bathstore closed last year.