Dune is among LK Bennett bidders - report
today Mar 27, 2019
The bidders for failed footwear and fashion chain LK Bennett are believed to include shoe retailer Dune. Offers for the company have been lodged this week and a preferred buyer for the company is expected to be chosen within the next few days by the chain’s administrator, EY.
Dune’s interest was reported by Sky News. It said the company, which operates its own chain of 50 shoe shops and a string of department store concessions, was a surprise bidder for the upscale firm.
Dune is best known for its own brand as well as for selling third-party labels such as Ted Baker and Skechers. It also owns the Head Over Heels brand. The privately-held 27-year-old company is controlled by the Rubin family with Daniel Rubin as its chairman. It made a pre-tax profit of only £4.7 million in the year to January 2018, the company citing higher costs and currency weakness for a profits fall of around a third compared to the previous year.
The price it has offered is unknown and it’s unclear who else has ambitions to buy the company. Acquisitive Sports Direct chief Mike Ashley was also reported to have made an indicative offer earlier this month.
LK Bennett’s recent fall from grace came as the UK fashion retail sector has faced its toughest conditions in decades. The 29-year-old company had been a high-flyer that was sold in 2008 by its founder Linda Bennett in a deal valuing it at around £100 million. It had 200 branded outlets (including its own stores and concessions) in the UK and abroad and was a favourite of fashion influencer the Duchess of Cambridge.
But several years of losses saw Linda Bennett returning as a consultant in 2017 and later buying back control for a fraction of the original sale price. However, she was unable to turn the company around and recently threw in the towel almost 18 months after buying back the company.
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