World Footwear

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Fashion chain LK Bennett to file for administration

Mar 8, 2019 United Kingdom
Fashion chain LK Bennett to file for administration
The UK-based premium fashion chain, retailing womenswear, leather footwear and accessories, has called in administrators. 500 jobs are at risk
LK Bennett owns a network of stores with roughly 40 locations and about 500 staff in the UK. The brand also markets its products through 37 concessions in stores around the country. The premium British retailer LK Bennett offers a variety of footwear, leather bags, such as clutches, totes and messenger bags, as well as a range of small leather accessories.

The British fashion chain signalled its difficulties last week after lining up EY as administrator if it could not find financing. Some stores were already shut, such as the locations in Sheffield in the Meadowhall shopping centre, Bristol, Liverpool and two in London at Brent Cross and Westbourne Grove.

Joint administrator Dan Hurd commented that LK Bennet is not immune to tough retailing trading conditions, which made the company "further impacted by significant rent increases and business rate rises". He added: "Linda and the management team therefore made the difficult decision to place the company into administration, to protect the future of the business".

Shops continue with business as usual, web sales are temporarily suspended, as the brand’s website had put up a notice indicating it had stopped taking orders, and the customer service was no longer taking calls saying the offices are closed.

The company was founded by Linda Bennett in 1990 and has some famous customers and fans such as the Duchess of Cambridge. Ms Bennett sold her majority stake in the chain to private equity firm Phoenix Equity Partners in 2008, but in 2017 returned to advise the business after the retailer started to struggle. She bought the company back. The chain reported an operating loss of nearly 6 million British pounds (year ended by July 2017, which represents the most recent results available). According to reports by the BBC, on her return, Ms Bennett invested about 11.2 million British pounds into the business.

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