Womenswear company LK Bennett collapses

High end retailer has five outlets in Ireland with concessions in Arnotts, Brown Thomas

The company, which has a presence in 53 markets, filed notice of intention to appoint an administrator earlier this month.

The company, which has a presence in 53 markets, filed notice of intention to appoint an administrator earlier this month.

 

Womenswear retailer LK Bennett has collapsed into administration, putting jobs at risk.

The high-end retailer has 41 outlets in the UK, including two in the North, and five in the Republic, including concessions. It operates within the Brown Thomas store on Grafton Street in Dublin, as well as within Arnotts. And it is in Kildare Village and Dundrum Town Centre.

Famous for its signature kitten heels, which start at £175 (€203) per pair, the company was founded by the entrepreneur Linda Bennett in 1990. Ms Bennett regained full control of the business last year from private equity investors but it was reported last month that she had drafted in advisers to look at restructuring options, which included a potential sale.

The company, which has a presence in 53 markets, filed notice of intention to appoint an administrator earlier this month. It has appointed EY to oversee the insolvency.

LK Bennett, a brand favoured by Kate Middleton, has always described itself as bringing “a bit of Bond Street luxury to the high street” but has not been immune to tough high street trading.

Its administration is a dramatic reversal in fortunes for LK Bennett.

Ms Bennett sold a controlling stake in her business in 2008 to Phoenix Equity Partners in a deal said to have valued the company at £100 million. After struggling for several years Ms Bennett bought out Phoenix last year.

However, the most recent accounts filed at Companies House show the business made an operating loss of £5.9 million in the year to 29 July 2017.

At a pretax level, losses ballooned to £48.3 million for the same period because of a corporate restructuring that involved writing off amounts owed by former group companies. – Guardian service