Bench files for administration with stores remaining open for now
Casual fashion brand Bench has filed for the appointment of an administrator putting up to 180 jobs at risk, although its 20 UK stores remain operational for now.
The men's, women's and kidswear business, which was initially founded as skate brand for men in 1989 and is best known for its signature hoodies, has been struggling to execute a turnaround in its fortunes for the past two year. But has fallen victim to the slowdown in retail, the weakness of sterling since the Brexit vote, and a major problem with logistics dating back to 2016.
As of yet no stores have been closed and no redundancies have been made at the business, which also has significant operations in Germany where it has 15 stores and 170 staff. Bench Limited has been owned by German private equity investor Emeram Capital since 2014, when it bought out Bench's parent company Americana International.
CEO Barry Knight said that Manchester-based Bench had been unable to get back onto a sound financial footing given the challenges it faced and it had been unable to raise any more liquidity, so administration was the only option. However he said he remained confident the brand had a future.
"Our task now, together with the administrator, is to achieve the best possible outcome in this situation. Despite the company’s current challenges, we remain confident that the Bench brand can have a bright future," Knight said.