LK Bennett Sold to Chinese Franchise Partner, Saving 325 Jobs

British fashion and footwear retailer L.K. Bennett Ltd., which sought bankruptcy protection last month, has been sold to Byland U.K. Ltd. The consultancy firm Ernst & Young, which was appointed to oversee the insolvency, said Friday it had completed a sale of the business and assets for an undisclosed sum.

Rebecca Feng, the retailer’s Chinese franchise partner, set up Byland U.K. Ltd. at the end of last month for the sole purpose of acquiring the company.

“The L.K. Bennett brand is synonymous with quality, and we believe there is a real opportunity to expand its reach in overseas markets where significant untapped potential exists. Under our plan, the business will continue to operate out of the U.K., looking to maintain the long-standing and undoubted heritage of the brand,” said Rebecca Feng, director of Byland U.K.

The company will procure L.K. Bennett’s headquarters, 21 stores, all of its concessions and retain 325 employees. There are 15 stores not included in the sale, in London, Birmingham, Glasgow and York. As a result, 110 employees will be let go. L.K. Bennett’s international operations were not included in the sale and will remain in administration, the U.K. equivalent of Chapter 11, according to E&Y.

“The company received offers from a number of parties. We are pleased that we have completed a sale to Byland U.K. Limited, preserving the jobs of 325 employees across 21 stores, and that the business has continued to trade through the administration process, helping to provide continuity of service for its loyal customer base,” said Dan Hurd, joint administrator from E&Y.

According to Companies House, the official register of U.K. businesses, L.K. Bennett reported a 47.5 million pound ($62.3 million) loss in the fiscal year ended July 2017. The company disclosed that it would need between 6 million and 12 million pounds in the form of shareholder loans to support it in 2018 and 2019.

Other British retailers have been struggling on the high street. Debenhams fell into administration this week, following in the footsteps of House of Fraser and Pretty Green, which was rescued by JD Sports last week.

This story was reported by WWD and originally appeared on WWD.com.

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