Bench calls in administrators, stores stay open for now
The Bench brand has called in administrators after struggling with a turnaround for at least tow years. And while the label’s 20 stores will remain open for now, nearly 180 jobs are at risk in the UK.
The almost-30-year-old casualwear label also has major operations in Germany that will be affected. It has a number of stores and 170 staff there with its HQ in Munich. The Manchester-founded label has been German-owned four just over four years since private equity firm Emeram Capital bought its owner Americana International.
The brand is also sold across Europe and North America.
The company has struggled on the back of the tough and hugely competitive UK fashion retail market as well as facing currency issues with the weakness of the British pound since the EU referendum vote pushing up costs for many businesses in Britain. But it has also cited a big logistics issue that happened as far back as 2016 for undermining its business.
Management said that despite several injections of cash to take on new staff and boost its stores, the company hadn’t been able to “get the company onto a sustainable economic footing”.
No jobs have been shed yet and CEO Barry Knight said he believes that the brand does have a future, even though it has no prospect of raising further working capital in its current form. He said the brand is “marketable” in both the UK and Germany, as well as in other countries, as shown by its three successful licence agreements.
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