LK Bennett Has Chinese Buyer

16 April 2019

LK Bennett has been bought out of administration, saving 325 jobs. However, 15 of the retailer's stores are not included in the deal and will close, leading to the loss of around 110 jobs.

Byland UK, which was set up by Rebecca Feng, who runs the company's Chinese franchises, was the buyer. The sale includes the company's headquarters, 21 stores and all of its concessions. The amount paid has not been disclosed.

Ms Feng said: "Under our plan, the business will continue to operate out of the UK, looking to maintain the long-standing and undoubted heritage of the brand. This will be achieved through a combination of working with quality British design, and the business's existing supply chain."

The administrators said the company's international subsidiaries were also not included in the sale and would remain in administration. 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 a short time later.

The chain reported an operating loss of nearly £6 million in the year to the end of July 2017, the most recent results available for the firm. The accounts show that on her return, Ms Bennett invested about £11.2 million into the business.

LK Bennett called in the administrators last month, and five stores - Sheffield Meadowhall, Bristol, Liverpool, London Brent Cross and London Westbourne Grove - were closed.

Shortly before the business fell into administration, Bennett emailed staff saying she had "fought as hard as I can, with all your help, to turn the business into the success that I know it deserves to be."

"These are difficult and unstable times, and we are doing everything we can to identify the best way forward," she had said.



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