Womenswear retailer LK Bennett are preparing to call in administrators, placing 500 jobs at risk and the closure of 41 stores, if the retailer cannot find a new backer in the next few days.
Founder Linda Bennett informed staff on Friday, 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.