LK Bennett administration extended for a year

LK Bennett

The administration of LK Bennett has been extended for another 12 months as administrators from EY seek to continue work on “property matters” and other issues.

According to EY’s latest administrator’s report the process is now due to conclude on 7 March next year. Secure creditors had granted the request on 24 January while unsecured creditors approved it on 12 February.

The request to grant the extension was made due to “ongoing property matters (relating to the the license to occupy granted to the purchaser of certain business and assets of the company), finalising trading liabilities and to make further distributions to the company’s creditors”.

No distributions were made to preferential creditors during the period of 7 September and 6 March but a notice of intended dividend is expected to be made shortly. 

Non-preferential creditors could total £29.34m but the retailer said it was still receiving claims and it was too early to estimate “the likely quantum”. An estimated £600,000 will be available to be distributed among all the unsecured creditors under insolvency legislation.

The premium fashion and footwear retailer entered administration on 7 March 2019 and was acquired a month later by its Chinese franchisee Rebecca Feng, using a vehicle called Byland UK. The chain’s former CEO Darren Topp assisted Byland with the deal and was subsequently re-appointed as CEO.

LK Bennett was founded over 30 years ago by Linda Bennett as a single store in Wimbledon Village. She sold a majority stake to Phoenix Equity Partners in 2008 for a reported £100m, though retained a shareholding.

Topp, a former CEO of BHS, was appointed CEO of LK Bennett in 2016 and orchestrated the return of its founder Linda Bennett in 2017 before exiting the business himself. Bennett then went on to buy out, Phoenix, and invested £11m of her own money, however it wasn’t enough to save the business and it was placed into administration in March 2019.

Byland’s deal included 21 of the stores but around 15 were closed.