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Exclusive: LK Bennett sales and profits fall

LK Bennett made an operating loss of £5.9m, excluding exceptional items, for the year to 31 July 2017.

This compares with an operating profit of £100,000 for 2015/16.

Sales edged down 1.8% year on year to £77.4m. However, like-for-like sales increased by 3.7% and online sales progressed “strongly”.

The holding company for the group’s operations – in the UK and internationally – reported a similar decline in total sales from £92.3m to £91.1m in 2016/17, and comparable like-for-like performance across channels.

At the end of the period LK Bennett had 130 stores globally. Online sales made up 33% of total sales, stores 61% and wholesale 6%. 

The group incurred exceptional costs of £28.7m during the period, largely in relation to a corporate restructuring in April 2017, when the debts of former group companies were written off. The business said this eliminated most of the company’s structural debt.

In September 2017, after the end of the financial year-end, Linda Bennett, founder of LK Bennett, bought the 45% of equity in the business that she did not already own from Phoenix Equity Partners, returning it to her ownership.

Patrick Woodall, chairman of the group, said: “Clearly, the results for this period were unsatisfactory and we have taken decisive action to improve performance.

“I am delighted to see Linda Bennett returning, both as owner of the business and playing a key part in creating product ranges that delight our customers. We are already seeing the benefit of her involvement in our improved product performance, and more generally across the group, as we continue to strengthen our management team.

“While the retail sector remains demanding, I am confident that, having dealt with a number of historical issues, we now have the right foundation to succeed in the future, and  we can focus on delivering the results to match the outstanding reputation of the LK Bennett brand.”

In April this year Erica Vilkauls returned to LK Bennett as CEO, replacing Darren Topp.

Vilkauls was previously buying, merchandising and ecommerce director at the brand for three years until 2009. 

 

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