Cath Kidston to shut 60 stores and move online
The company began reviewing its stores in 2018
Cath Kidston, the vintage-style homewares, bags and clothing retailer, is permanently shutting its 60 UK stores with the loss of more than 900 jobs.
The retailer confirmed its stores will not reopen once the coronavirus lockdown is over (Daily Business Live earlier today).
The announcement came after the company’s owners secured a deal to buy back its brand and online operations following its fall into administration on 3 April.
Baring Private Equity Asia (BPEA), which has held a stake in the retailer since 2014, said it will buy the online business, brand and wholesale arm from administrators Alvarez & Marsal.
It said the move will result in the “cessation of the retail store network”. Only 32 of its 940 staff will be retained.
The chain opened in 1993 but as troubles on the high street mounted it launched a review of the locations in 2018 as leases came up for renewal to ensure its stores were located in high footfall areas. It relocated its Edinburgh store from George Street to a more prominent corner site in Princes Street in 2017.
Melinda Paraie, chief executive, of Cath Kidston, said: “While we are pleased that the future of Cath Kidston has been secured, this is obviously an extremely difficult day as we say goodbye to many colleagues.
“Despite our very best efforts, against the backdrop of Covid-19, we were unable to secure a solvent sale of the business which would have allowed us to avoid administration and carry on trading in our current form.
“I would like to thank all our employees for their hard work, loyalty and patience over the last few weeks as we worked through this process.”
We were unable to secure a solvent sale of the business– Melinda Paraie, CEO
A spokesman for BPEA said: “While we are disappointed that the Covid-19 crisis has resulted in the cessation of the retail store network and impacted many employees, we are pleased to have secured a future for a number of Cath Kidston staff and the Cath Kidston brand in the form of a viable digital business.
“Going forward we will continue to help the company grow through its e-commerce platform and international wholesale and franchise businesses.
“We would like to thank Melinda and the company’s management team for their hard work in managing through this difficult economic crisis and establishing a viable future for the business in the UK.”