Thursday, 4 November 2010

Boycott L.K. Bennett

I will admit I was unaware of L.K. Bennett before 18th October 2010. I presume, as a man in his 40s, I am not exactly their target market. I hope the names of the companies on this post make sense. Let me know if there are any mistakes.

L.K.Bennett sell expensive women’s fashion in the UK.

L.K.Bennett was founded in London in 1990 by Linda Kristin Bennett. Bennett learned her trade as a cordwainer at Hackney’s Cordwainers College (now part of the London College of Fashion) after attending Haberdashers’ Aske’s School (fees as at 2010 £11,490 p.a.), Elstree and Reading University, where she read Land Management. Bennett worked on the factory floor for French designer Robert Clergerie and on the shop floor of fashion chains Whistles and Joseph before setting up her first shop in Wimbledon Village, London.

L.K.Bennett originally sold just shoes before adding bags and then clothes and other accessories to its range in 1998. Since the creation of the original store, L.K.Bennett has expanded into an international chain of shops (including in-store concession and outlet stores), with 109 stores in operation in the UK, Jersey, Ireland and France.

Bennett first tried to sell L.K.Bennett in 2004 for a £75m asking price. Four years later, she sold the business to Phoenix Equity Partners and Sirius Equity, a retail and branded luxury goods investment company, in a deal believed to have netted her around £70m. The sale valued the business at £100m.

Robert BensoussanRobert Bensoussan, co-founder of Sirius Equity, has a history in luxury retail operations. Previously chief executive officer of Jimmy Choo Ltd, he also served as managing director of Gianfranco Ferre and chief executive officer of Christian Lacroix.

Between 1980 and 1984, Robert Bensoussan was responsible for the implementation of the relaunch of the Lacoste brand (Groupe Prouvost) in Brazil; he was also Director of Ready-to-wear & Accessories for Charles Jourdan in Paris from 1984 to 1986. As Director of Sales for Sonia Rykiel (Paris) from 1986 to 1989, Robert Bensoussan was responsible for sales worldwide. Robert Bensoussan joined the Escada Group (Munich) in 1990, as Director of International Sales and member of the management team in Munich. As Chief Executive of Christian Lacroix (Paris) - subsidiary of LVMH – from 1993 to 1997 and Chief Executive of Gianfranco Ferrè (Milan) in 1999 and 2000.

In 1994, Robert Bensoussan joined the Board of Interparfums Inc (New York), a prestige perfume licensing company, listed on the Nasdaq. In 1998, he was retained by Rose Marie Bravo as her personal advisor to work on the repositioning of the Burberry (London) brand in Europe and Asia, concentrating on production and products as well as distribution. In 1999, he put together the Joseph (London) £100 million deal (LBO), bringing as partners Albert Frère (CNP) and LV Capital (LVMH). In November 2001, together with Phoenix Equity Partners, a leading private equity fund management business, Robert Bensoussan set up Equinox Luxury Holdings Ltd which acquired a 51% stake in Jimmy Choo (London).

In July 2008, Sirius Equity and Phoenix Equity Partners bought a large majority control of LK Bennett, the quintessentially English Brand of women’s ready to wear, shoes and accessories for an undisclosed amount.

In addition to his various responsibilities, Robert Bensoussan is a member of the Board of Jimmy Choo, Interparfums (Nasdaq: IPAR), Celio (French Menswear Retail Group, €1 Billion sales), Bremont Watches, and Aurenis (French publishing group).

On 18th October, Robert Bensoussan signed an open letter calling on the Chancellor to continue the coalition government's plans to reduce the public finance deficit in one term, plans which included swingeing cuts on the poorest members of society and which risk pushing this country into a double-dip recession, the likes of which has not been seen since the last time the tories took power and tanked the economy in the early 80's.

For this reason Robert Bensoussan is considered a fully signed up member of the Big Business Society and we urge people to boycott L.K. Bennett. I think we should consider expanding the botcott to include Robert's other business interests, Jimmy Choo, Interparfums, Celio, Bremont Watches, and Aurenis, especially Jimmy Choo as the company has just launched an expensive advertising campaign for a perfume in the run up to Christmas, the main gift buying season.

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