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LK Bennett store closures revealed

LK Bennett has announced the locations of the 15 stores it plans to close, resulting in the redundancy of around 110 employees.

It comes after Rebecca Feng, who runs LK Bennett’s Chinese franchises, bought the UK, Ireland and wholesale business of the premium womenswear retailer today through her company Byland UK for an undisclosed sum. 

The sale includes the company’s headquarters, 21 stores, all of its concessions, and 325 employees, who will transfer across to the new owner. The company’s international subsidiaries are not included in the sale and will remain in administration. 

A total of 15 UK and Ireland stores (listed below) were not included in the sale and will be closed. Accountancy firm EY, which was appointed as administrator on 7 March, is providing support to the 110 staff members affected.  

In England, stores will close in Birmingham, Bath, Gloucester, Westgate Oxford, St Alban’s, York and the York Outlet. 

London closures are Royal Exchange, King’s Road, Knightsbridge, Long Acre and Northcote Road. 

Elsewhere, stores will close in Belfast; Bridgewater Park in Banbridge, County Down; and Glasgow.  

A further five stores were closed on appointment of administrators.

LK Bennett’s former CEO, Darren Topp, and finance director, and Andrew Ellis, have been working with Byland UK, providing operational and financial support. Both will remain after the deal.

As part of the transaction, all gift cards, refunds, and orders will be honoured.

Feng said: “The LK Bennett brand is synonymous with quality and we believe there is a real opportunity to expand its reach in overseas markets where significant untapped potential exists. 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.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all LK Bennett’s customers, employees, and other key stakeholders for their support during the period of uncertainty which followed the appointment of administrators. We look forward to welcoming many more customers in the years ahead.”

Dan Hurd, joint administrator said: “With an established, luxury UK brand, the company received offers from a number of parties. We are pleased that we have completed a sale to Byland UK, preserving the jobs of 325 employees across 21 stores, and that the business continued to trade through the Administration process, helping to provide continuity of service for its loyal customer base.”

In its most recent results, for the year to 31 July 2017, LK Bennett had an operating loss of £5.9m. 

 

 

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