Business World

Thursday 17 October 2019

LK Bennett goes into administration with 500 jobs at risk

The Duchess of Cambridge greets well-wishers after her visit to Keech Hospice Care in Luton where she wore a dress by LK Bennett (Eddie Keogh/PA)
The Duchess of Cambridge greets well-wishers after her visit to Keech Hospice Care in Luton where she wore a dress by LK Bennett (Eddie Keogh/PA)

LaToya Harding and Gavin McLoughlin

LK Bennett has become the latest victim on the UK high street after collapsing into administration.

The company’s Irish operation will not be affected as of yet however, as that comes under its international arm which is not part of the administration process.

Founded by entrepreneur Linda Bennett in 1990, it made a £5.9m (€6.9m) loss in the year to July 2017, according to the most recent set of accounts.

Famed for its kitten heel shoes, the womenswear retailer has appointed accountancy firm EY to carry out the process. Administrators have already cut the number of head office employees and closed five stores. EY will now try to find a buyer.

The Duchess of Cambridge arrives for a visit to Evelina Children’s Hospital in London in a dress by LK Bennett (Chris Jackson/PA)
The Duchess of Cambridge arrives for a visit to Evelina Children’s Hospital in London in a dress by LK Bennett (Chris Jackson/PA)

Dan Hurd, EY joint administrator said: “Amidst tough trading conditions for retailers, the company has been further impacted by significant rent increases and business rate rises.

“[Ms Bennett] and the management team therefore made the difficult decision to place the company into administration, to protect the future of the business.”

He added: “LK Bennett is a strong luxury UK brand, the new season collection was critically acclaimed and recent trading is up, which we hope will be attractive to prospective buyers.”

In 2008 Ms Bennett sold her business to Phoenix Equity Partners and Sirius Equity for £100m but was brought back as a consultant.

The brand was hit with the Duchess of Cambridge, and this year Kate Middleton has been photographed wearing black suede LK Bennett Marissa boots, and less than three months ago she wore a green and white polka dot LK Bennett dress at Evelina London Children's Hospital.

Other occasions she has worn the label include a visit to Keech Hospice Care in Luton in 2016 when she wore a blue and white LK Bennett dress, and in 2013 she wore a red LK Bennett coat when she joined poppy sellers at a London Tube station.

Patent nude LK Bennett platform courts became a "must have" item in any fashionista's wardrobe when the duchess started wearing them.

However, Kate only started sporting the elegant and simple shoes after taking advice from the Duchess of Cornwall.

The shoes, which she has worn on a number of occasions, are favoured by Camilla, who has been wearing them "for years", according to a royal aide.

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