Philip Day, owner of Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group (EWM), has decided to withdraw from the bidding process for premium womenswear retailer LK Bennett, following its collapse into administration last month.
Day had submitted a last-minute bid with administrators at EY on 25 March, but his interest in the business was “soft”.
A spokesman for Philip Day said: “We have now withdrawn our interest from LK Bennett.
“Our interest was always limited, and we did not want to involve ourselves in a bidding war. As a result, we thought it best to remove ourselves from the process.”
EY declined to comment. LK Bennett has been contacted for comment.
Rebecca Feng, who runs LK Bennett’s Chinese franchises; the Dune Group; LK Bennett founder Linda Bennett and Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley are also thought to be among the business’s prospective buyers.
EY is said to be assessing offers, and a buyer is expected to be chosen within days.
LK Bennett appointed Dan Hurd, Hunter Kelly and Craig Lewis of EY as joint administrators of its UK business on 7 March. This will lead to the closure of five stores: Meadowhall in Sheffield, Bristol, Liverpool, and Brent Cross and Westbourne Grove in London, and up to 55 redundancies.
In its most recent results, for the year to 31 July 2017, LK Bennett had an operating loss of £5.9m.