Fashion retailer Bench files for administration

Wed, 02 May 2018 | ADMINISTRATION

Another of the UK’s most recognisable high street brands could be up for sale as fashion retailer Bench confirmed it had filed for administration.

In a notice issued to shareholders and staff today, Bench said that it had filed an application with the relevant UK authorities despite spending the past few months working “tireless” on turning the business around.

The firm said that difficulties facing the UK retail market – which have seen many high street names fold or enter administration – as well as a one-off major logistics issue in 2016 were major contributing factors to a recent downturn.

Bench was founded in Manchester in 1989 and originally sold graphic T-shirts with designs inspired by skateboarding. It has since evolved into a global lifestyle brand, encompassing menswear and womenswear, and currently has 20 UK stores and 15 German retail locations.

The stores will remain open during the administration, Bench’s owners say, with operations continuing as usual in the immediate future. No staff cuts have been announced, though 176 UK jobs and 170 German positions may be at risk.

Bench’s CEO, Barry Knight, said that despite widespread efforts to keep the company alive – alongside several cash injections from the firm’s owner – the company’s management were “not able to get the company onto a sustainable economic footing”.

He added: “We faced a lot of headwind due to the devaluation of the British pound, the competitiveness and the declining market in our fashion segment. Ultimately, it was not possible for us to generate further liquidity for the company, on either an equity or on a debt basis.

“Our task now, together with the administrator, is to achieve the best possible outcome in this situation”.


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