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Bench files for administration

Casualwear brand Bench has filed for administration, putting 176 jobs in the UK at risk. 

Bench Limited, which owns the brand, has filed an application to appoint administrators. 

Drapers understands Bench’s 20 UK stores are expected to stay open in the immediate future and no redundancies have been made as yet. 

The insolvency will also affect its German operations which are based in Munich and employ an additional 170 people across head office and 15 stores.

In a statement the business cited difficulties relating to the UK retail market, the weakness of sterling and a “major” logistics issue in 2016 as contributing to the firm’s demise.

Bench chief executive Barry Knight said: “Everyone at Bench has worked tirelessly to achieve the turnaround of the business. We have been provided with further capital by our owner on several occasions to invest in new stores and employees, but we weren’t able to get the company onto a sustainable economic footing.

“We faced a lot of headwind due to the devaluation of the British Pound, the competitiveness and the declining market in our fashion segment. Ultimately, it was not possible for us to generate further liquidity for the company, on either an equity or on a debt basis. As a result, we have no alternative but to go into administration.

“Our task now, together with the administrator, is to achieve the best possible outcome in this situation. Despite the company’s current challenges, we remain confident that the Bench brand can have a bright future. The brand is marketable in the UK, Germany and internationally as demonstrated by three successful licence agreements we have entered into.” 

Founded in Manchester in 1989 Bench is represented in 34 countries across Europe and North America.

The firm’s parent company Americana International was bought by German private equity investor Emeram Capital in February 2014.

 

 

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