The upmarket fashion chain LK Bennett has collapsed into administration, threatening 500 jobs, after its owners failed to find a new financial backer to keep it afloat.
The company, which is famed for its kitten heel shoes and counts the Duchess of Cambridge among its customers, has appointed the accountancy firm EY to manage the administration of its 41 shops, and 55 people were immediately made redundant.
Its customer service telephone line was closed as of Thursday afternoon, while its website carried a holding message reading: “Thank you for visiting LK Bennett, we’re experiencing some issues but should be up and running again soon.”
Its founder, Linda Bennett, who opened the first of her stores in 1990, emailed staff last week to say she had “fought as hard as I can … to turn the business into the success that I know it deserves to be.
“These are difficult and unstable times, and we are doing everything we can to identify the best way forward.”
Last month it was reported that Bennett was casting around for new backers, but last Friday it emerged that the company had filed notice of intention to appoint an administrator.
The formalisation of the process indicates that no new financial backers could be found since then.