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UK womenswear retailer L.K. Bennett enters administration

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UK womenswear retailer L.K. Bennett enters administration
Signage is seen at a branch of the British high-end womenswear firm L.K. Bennett in London, Britain, March 1, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville   -   Copyright  TOBY MELVILLE(Reuters)
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LONDON (Reuters) – British womenswear retailer L.K. Bennett entered administration on Thursday, putting 500 jobs at risk in the latest indication of the pressures building on the high street.

Administrators EY said that trading would continue as normal while it looked for a buyer, although online sales would be suspended.

However five stores will close straight away, resulting in 55 redundancies.

“Amidst tough trading conditions for retailers, the company has been further impacted by significant rent increases and business rate rises,” joint administrator Dan Hurd said, adding that the move was aimed at protecting the future of the business.

The company has 500 employees across 39 stores, 37 concessions and its head office in London. EY said that its international operations were not included in the administration process.

Weak demand and rising costs have put intense pressure on the UK high street for several years.

Department store BHS went bust in 2016, while House of Fraser was bought out of administration last year by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct and Debenhams has issued a raft of profit warnings and is closing stores.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Kate Holton)

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