The upmarket LK Bennett women’s fashion brand has faced multiple challenges over the past few years, including a spell in administration for the core UK business in early 2019 and a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) towards the end of 2020 to enable it to further reshape its UK store network in the wake of the pandemic.
LK Bennett’s Chinese franchise owner Rebecca Feng, supported by its former chief executive Darren Topp and former finance director Andrew Ellis, acquired the business out of administration in March 2019 through investment vehicle Byland Investment Ltd. Topp was reappointed as chief executive shortly after the acquisition and the company name has subsequently been changed to LK Bennett Fashion Ltd.
Facilitated by the CVA, the retailer has been restructured with smaller management and head office teams in line with its reduced sales levels which - being heavily focused on eventwear and workwear - were decimated in the pandemic.
LK Bennett currently operates retail stores and concessions in the UK, Ireland and Europe. It also has a strong online presence and wholesales products around the globe.
Having been seriously impacted by repeated lockdown measures in FY2020, LK Bennett implemented a cross-border ecommerce platform from eShopWorld (ESW) in the first half of 2021 to drive ecommerce sales. As a result, the fashion retailer can now serve all of its international markets from its UK site.
Reshaped as a significantly smaller business following its recently completed CVA, LK Bennett continued its recovery in the year to 28 January 2023 (FY2022). Total sales rose 26.9% to £48.4m as 33.1% growth across the core retail operation was offset by an 8.5% dip in revenues from the smaller wholesale division.
Having returned to the black the year before, the bottom line was significantly strengthened this time round. Pre-tax profit increased nearly tenfold from £0.3m to £2.3m in FY2022, raising the margin from 0.7% to 4.7%.
Innovation rating: 2