LK Bennett riding high as event dressing returns
The company said turnover rose to £49 million, up 30% on the prior year, with gross profit up 40% to over £30 million.
The margin also rose 420 basis points to 61.9%, while EBITDA of £4 million was a threefold rise, and operating profit of £2.9 million was four times higher than the pervious 12 months. The company said it was its strongest year in over a decade.
The business benefited from the post-Covid return of weddings and other events like Royal Ascot (with which it has worked for some time and of which it’s now an Official Sponsor). This has particularly boosted its dress category, with management saying the return of occasion dressing generated around £1 million in profit.
The company has also been opening new stores in Britain with its latest being in Cheltenham that opened last week. Additionally, it’s been upgrading existing stores and is expanding globally with a return to the US via wholesale this autumn.
CEO Darren Topp said that while the firm recognises that much of the rebound was due to the one-off bounce-back after pandemic restrictions were eased, “the underlying business is stronger today as a result of the actions taken over the past four years”.
The retailer was founded in the London suburb of Wimbledon in 1990 by Linda Bennett who sold a 70% stake to private equity for tens of millions in 2007.
But as it faltered, 10 years later, she returned to the helm with full control. However, her presence wasn’t enough to prevent an administration filing in 2019. It was then acquired by Chinese company Byland, which is controlled by Rebecca Feng.
It now has over 100 locations globally, including the UK & Ireland, Europe, the US and China, as well as UK, EU and US webstores, and is also sold through Selfridges, Galeries Lafayette, de Bijenkorf and Brown Thomas.
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