LK Bennett’s operating losses grew to £4.5m in the year to July 30, 2016, from £1.1m the previous year, before former BHS boss Darren Topp joined as chief executive.

Topp took the helm at the ailing brand in September 2016, after its year end, and implemented a strategy to refocus the business.

During the period, sales slid 1% to £92.3m, while gross profit fell 2% to £58.3m, Drapers reported.

Like-for-like sales were up 1% in the year, driven by online sales growth of 19%.

In the UK, online sales jumped 18% year-on-year, and rocketed 35% in the US.

LK Bennett’s wholesale sales rose by 2.3% as a result of growth in the US, the Middle East and Asia.

Turnaround plans

Topp conducted an in-depth review of the firm when he joined, following the collapse of department store chain BHS, and decided to focus on delivering founder Linda Bennett’s original vision of “affordable luxury”.

Bennett has rejoined the retailer one day a week to focus on product design.

Topp plans to strengthen the design, buying and merchandising teams, branch into new categories, including swimwear and jewellery, and stretch LK Bennett’s price points to appeal to a broader customer base.

Directors said they were confident that the execution of the growth plan, along with close control of costs and changes to key business processes, would return the group to profitability.


The retailer has aspirations to grow its store portfolio, with plans to open up to 40 stores a year for the next three years, most of which will be in the UK.

During the period, LK Bennett shuttered four loss-making stores in the UK, and opened new concessions within John Lewis and Harrods.

It increased its international presence, launching in China, Russia and Qatar.

Current trading

LK Bennett non-executive chairman Patrick Woodall said he was pleased with the results in a “very challenging market”.

He added that on current trading, like-for-like sales were up 6% as LK Bennett approaches its 2016/2017 year-end.