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Fashion chain sold by administrator

New owner of LK Bennett saves 21 stores, shuts 15

LK Bennett Edinburgh shop

LK Bennett in Edinburgh stays open, but the Glasgow store will close


 

Fashion chain LK Bennett has been bought out of administration, saving 325 jobs, although 15 stores will close, including those in Glasgow and Belfast and five in London, leading to the loss of 110 jobs.

The company has been bought as expected by Byland UK which was set up by Rebecca Feng, who runs the company’s franchises in China. The sale includes the company’s headquarters, 21 stores and all of its concessions but does not include the international subsidiaries which remain in administration. Terms of the deal were not 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 UK stores not included in the sale and which will now close are:

  • Bath
  • Belfast
  • Birmingham
  • Bridgewater, Banbridge
  • City, Royal Exchange, London
  • Glasgow
  • Gloucester
  • King’s Road, London
  • Knightsbridge, London
  • Long Acre, London
  • Northcote Road, London
  • St Albans
  • Westgate Oxford
  • York
  • York Outlet

Five stores – Sheffield Meadowhall, Bristol, Liverpool, London Brent Cross and London Westbourne Grove – were closed when administrators were brought in last month.

LK Bennett was founded by Linda Bennett in 1990, and counts the Duchess of Cambridge as a customer.

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 a short time later.

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



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