British fashion chain LK Bennett to file for administration

United Kingdom
Published:  04 March, 2019

Premium womenswear, leather footwear and accessories retailer, LK Bennett is preparing to appoint administrators as the Company struggles to reverse an operating loss of nearly £6 million (US$7.95 million) on sales of £77.4 million (US$102.58 million) in the year to 29 July 2017, with pre-tax losses rising to £48 million (US$63.59 million) in the period.

LK Bennett employs 480 people in the UK across 42 stores and 54 department store concessions. It also has 47 shops and concessions across the U.S. and other European countries. Up to half of all its stores are said to face closure. “News that LK Bennett is on the very edge of collapse is, sadly, hardly surprising. It has very obviously been finding life extremely difficult for quite some time and shows just how challenging retail is in the UK”, Alan Treadgold Retail Expert, PA Consulting. “It has clearly not been able to transform itself quickly enough to keep up with a customer and competitive landscape that is changing faster. Add in the challenges of rising business rates and, I’d imagine, increasing costs of products and the result is a very serious profit squeeze at a time when the business is least able to absorb it”, he added.

In 2008, owner Linda Bennett sold a controlling stake to Phoenix Equity Partners in a deal worth £100 million (US$132.47 million) and returned to the business in 2017 as a consultant, before buying back the controlling stake previously held by Phoenix Equity Partners.

LK Bennett’s current footwear price tag ranges from £95 (US$125.8) for a pair of espadrille sandals with leather uppers to £495 (US$655.52) for a pair of high heeled leather sandals. The premium British retailer also offers a variety of leather bags, such as clutches, totes and messenger bags, as well as a range of small leather accessories.