Sunday 31 March 2019 3:27 pm

Philip Day steps back from race to buy collapsed high street shoe store LK Bennett

City A.M’s industry and manufacturing correspondent. You can follow me on @alexmdaniel, or email:

City A.M’s industry and manufacturing correspondent. You can follow me on @alexmdaniel, or email:

Philip Day, the billionaire owner of retailer Edinburgh Woolen Mill, has removed himself from the competition to buy collapsed shoe seller LK Bennett.

The retail tycoon had lodged a bid with administrators at EY, joining Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley, as well as Chinese fashion entrepreneur Rebecca Feng and former LK Bennett chief executive Darren Topp in the competition to take over the collapsed retailer.

Read more: LK Bennett collapses into administration

Day has made a name for himself buying out struggling brands in the past, including Jaeger, Jane Norman and Austin Reed in recent years.

But a spokesperson for Day told City A.M. this afternoon he had withdrawn the bid, just hours after the interest was first reported.

The spokesperson said: “We have now withdrawn our interest from LK Bennett.

“Our interest was always limited, and we did not want to involve ourselves in a bidding war. As a result, we thought it best to remove ourselves from the process.”

City A.M. understands Day had lodged the bid through a company outside the Edinburgh Woollen Mill group, which he is chief executive of.

High-end shoe seller LK Bennett collapsed earlier this month, plunging 500 jobs across 39 stores into uncertainty.

The brand, which has been favoured by the Duchess of Cambridge and has become well-known for its kitten heels, was opened almost three decades ago when Linda Bennett opened her first store.

Read more: UK retail sales see biggest contraction in 17 months, says CBI

It has also found favour with Prime Minister Theresa May in the past, who wore LK Bennett shoes for a Vogue fashion shoot in 2017.

Last summer it emerged that LK Bennett had made an operating loss of nearly £6m in the 12 months to July 2017, and its travails come amid a swathe of challenges facing Britain’s retailers.