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Exclusive: LK Bennett retail director exits

LK Bennett’s retail director Manuela Carniello has left the business after 18 years, Drapers understands.

Manuela Carniello

Carniello joined the footwear and womenswear retailer as a sales assistant in 1997 and worked her way up to store manager and area manager before being promoted to retail director in August 2004.

Her next steps are not yet known.

LK Bennett, which has an annual turnover of about £95m, was bought by private equity firm Phoenix Equity Partners, a co-owner of accessories brand Radley, in 2008. It is run by chief executive Robert Bensoussan.

Over the past two to three years, LK Bennett has closed a number of underperforming regional stores, including Chichester, Brighton and Exeter, and consolidated some of its John Lewis and House of Fraser concessions. It now has 77 stores and concessions and two outlets in the UK and Ireland.

In Europe, it has a company-operated store in Madrid and concessions in Iberian department store chain El Corte Inglés in Portugal and Spain. It has its own store in Paris, as well as concessions in French department store chains Galeries Lafayette and Printemps and an outlet in La Vallée, Paris.

In the US, it has eight company-operated stores and one outlet in Fashion Outlets of Chicago. It has also four franchise stores in the Middle East.

Group product director Jo Hooper left the business in early March after only four months in the role.

LK Bennett declined to comment on Carniello’s departure. Carniello could not be reached for a comment.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Is Carniello the director number 4 departing this year? What's going on? ... I believe business is tough there...

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  • Fashion is a mature market. If some brands are enjoying growth, there will be others suffering. LKB is one. Jaeger another. Aquascutum another.

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