Written by: Keith Tully
Published: 8th March 2019
As many as 500 jobs could be at risk as a result of the fashion chain business LK Bennett collapsing into administration.
The company has appointed EY representatives as administrators, with the future now uncertain for its several hundred staff members and the stores they work in around the country.
There are a total of 41 LK Bennett women’s fashion outlets nationwide, with the Duchess of Cambridge known to be an admirer of the brand.
Like many retailers across the country, LK Bennett has been struggling to manage its finances and stay in business in the face of some stiff economic headwinds in recent months.
It emerged in February that the company’s directors had sought advice on fresh financing options that might help it avoid insolvency and could have seen it sold to new owners.
Linda Bennett, the founder of business, which has been in existence for almost 30 years, stepped back from its day-to-day operations in 2008 but returned in a consultancy capacity in 2017.
More recently, Ms Bennett acquired a controlling stake in the business from a private equity firm called Phoenix Equity Partners.
She reportedly wrote to members of her workforce in recent days to let them know that she’d fought hard to keep the company afloat and to “turn the business into the success that I know it deserves to be”.
“These are difficult and unstable times, and we are doing everything we can to identify the best way forward,” she wrote in an email.
A customer service telephone line associated with LK Bennett services was closed down as news of the company’s entry into administration emerged.
Its website is also no longer functioning but features a message saying: “Thank you for visiting LK Bennett, we’re experiencing some issues but should be up and running again soon.”
Several other clothing retailers have fallen into administration in recent quarters, with the fashion chain Coast and the centuries-old department store chain House of Fraser both having been forced into that position last year.
The UK’s retail sector more generally has been experiencing tough times of late and tens of thousands of jobs are believed to have been shed across the industry in 2018.