LK Bennett sold to Chinese franchise partner

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LK Bennett sold
// LK Bennett has been purchased by Rebecca Feng
// Feng runs the fashion retailer’s Chinese franchise business
// LK Bennett went into administration last month and suitors in the bidding war included founder Linda Bennett & retail tycoon Philip Day

LK Bennett has reportedly been sold to its Chinese franchise partner, placing some stores in the UK and Ireland up for potential closure.

According to Drapers, Rebecca Feng has bought the British and Irish and wholesale division of the upmarket womenswear retailer, which had entered administration in early March.

The transaction was done last night after Feng made an offer for LK Bennett last month via a newly incorporated company Byland UK.

Drapers reports that some UK and Irish stores could close as a result of the sale, although it is not yet clear how many would be affected.

Feng is also reportedly going to review the mainland European arm of LK Bennett as well as its US arm, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week.

The result of that review is set to be revealed within eight weeks.

LK Bennett’s former chief executive Darren Topp and finance director Andrew Ellis both worked with Byland on the takeover offer.

LK Bennett had appointed joint administrators from EY for its UK business on March 7.

Founder Linda Bennett reportedly dropped out of the race to rescue her brand from administration, paving the way for Byland to win.

Other big names to have been linked with the LK Bennett’s bidding war included Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley, Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group’s Philip Day, and footwear retailer Dune.

LK Bennett employs almost 500 staff in the UK across 39 stores, 37 concessions and its London head office.

Globally, LK Bennett trades from around 200 branded stores.

According to its most recent available accounts, LK Bennett showed an operating loss of £5.9 million and a loss before tax of £47.9 million for the year to July 29, 2017.

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