Womenswear fashion retailer LK Bennett has collapsed, the retailer has 200 outlets across the UK and overseas, placing 500 jobs at risk.
Founder Linda Bennett informed staff last Friday, if the company cannot find a new backer in the next few days, administrators will be called in.
LK Bennett are expected to appoint Ernst & Young administrators.
In 2008 Bennett stepped back from the retail company and returned as a consultant in 2017, later that year she bought back the controlling share from Phoenix Equity Partners.
Bennett invested £11.2m into the company upon her return, according to recent available accounts.
LK Bennett showed a loss before tax of £47.9m the year to 29 July 2017, and last month the retailer hired advisors to look at business options including investment of the sale of business.
Martin Lane, managing editor of money.co.uk said, “All 480 employees of LK Bennett are in for an anxious period as they wait to learn if they’ll suffer the same fate as other high street retailers in the past year. With the rise of competition from online retailer offering cheap easy alternatives it’s hard for highstreet brand to survive.
“It is undoubtedly distressing news for employees of LK Bennett and their families especially because their fates are now being kept in limbo. Now is the time to check what redundancy rights you have and dig out any income or mortgage protection policies you hold just in case.
“Unfortunately LK Bennett is just one in a long list of high street retailers who are struggling. Anyone who works in the industry who may be worried about the future of their jobs should hope for the best but prepare for the worst.”
This is the latest in a long line of retailers that have been hit in a surge in business rates and rents.