British streetwear company Bench Limited has announced it is going to close its German subsidiary, Bench International GbmH, and its 14 stores in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, by mid-August. A total of 100 employees will be affected.
The decision comes just weeks after the American advisory, restructuring and investment firm Gordon Brothers acquired the Bench brand and all of its related intellectual properties. Bench filed for administration in April, after a series of unsuccessful turnaround attempts. “We have been provided with further capital by our owner on several occasions to invest in new stores and employees, but we weren’t able to get the company onto a sustainable economic footing”, said Barry Knight, CEO of Bench Limited, at the time.
Bench International’s insolvency administrator, Munich’s law firm Pohlmann Hofmann, issued a statement saying it has contacted Gordon Brothers to inquire whether the firm would be interested in acquiring the German subsidiary and the 14 stores, but the American firm was not interested.
”I am very sorry that the continuation of the two German Bench companies is not possible. We have no other choice, considering the new brand owner’s lack of interest in our administrative units, store network and the small stock we still hold”, wrote Rolf G. Pohlmann, from Pohlmann Hofmann, in the statement. “Our assessment that the fate of the German companies was in the hands of the British insolvency administration, due to the special structure of the Bench Group, has unfortunately proven to be correct”.
Fashionunited has contacted Bench Limited for comment.