LK Bennett bought by Chinese partner, 15 stores to close
Written by Hannah McGrath
LK Bennett has been bought out of administration by its Chinese franchise partner Rebecca Feng, for an undisclosed sum.
This morning administrators confirmed that 15 stores that were not included in the sale will be closed, resulting in around 110 redundancies.
The stores set to close are: Bath, Belfast, Birmingham, Bridgewater, Banbridge, City Royal Exchange in London, Glasgow, Gloucester, Kings Road London, Knightsbridge, London, Long Acre, London, Northcote Road, London, St Albans, Westgate Oxford, York, York Outlet.
The struggling womenswear retailer appointed administrators from EY last month, sparking a bidding war involving the company’s founder Linda Bennett, Edinburgh Woollen Mill owner Philip Day and Rebecca Feng.
Byland UK Limited, owned by Rebecca Feng, has purchased the British and Irish wholesale division of the company.
The sale includes the company’s headquarters, 21 stores, all of its concessions, and 325 employees, who will transfer across to the purchaser.
The Chinese franchise partners made an offer for LK Bennett last month through new company Byland UK.
It has been reported that Darren Topp , former chief executive of LK Bennett, and Andrew Ellis, finance director, were both involved in the Byland offer.
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 Limited, 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.”
The company was founded in 1990 by Linda Bennett and is known to be a favourite of prime minister Theresa May, work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd, and the Duchess of Cambridge.
It employs 500 staff members in the UK across 39 stores.
Five stores in Sheffield, Bristol, Liverpool, and London stores in Brent Cross and Westbourne Grove were earmarked for closure after the firm raised a warning over its search for new financing in March, along with the loss of 55 roles at head office announced in March.