Cath Kidston will ‘draw on British heritage to operate as a digital-first retailer in the UK’

Published on: 26th October 2020

Cath Kidston has identified opportunities to bolster its brand relevance and product innovation, as well as improve its digital presence and international partnerships, the retailer has said, in a move to deliver “a sustained profitability model” over the next three years.

The fashion and lifestyle name entered administration and underwent a restructure in April this year. Since then, it has leaned into online retailer, an arm that now accounts for 85 per cent of its business. The firm has now detailed a transformation plan that puts digital acceleration and global growth at its centre.

With renewed support and investment from parent company Baring Private Equity Asia, Cath Kidston said it has realigned its cost base and structure to create an “economically viable operating model” as a brand-led, digital first retailer.

The retailer has said that it would draw on its British heritage to operate as a digital-first retailer in the UK.

As reported by the Retail Gazette, Cath Kidston will re-open its Piccadilly store in London next month, which will operate as its global flagship and its only high street store in the UK. It will seek to leverage its wholesale relationships and franchise partnerships in over 35 countries.

Other transformation measures include streamlining Cath Kidston’s product range by curating content for customers in more meaningful ways, and refining the offer to focus on key products and easier ways to shop.

The retailer has ambitions to reclaim its status as a gifting destination where one in five UK customers have either bought or received a Cath Kidston gift, and will continue to build new categories to reflect growing consumer demand in areas such as home and kids.

Cath Kidston chief executive Melinda Paraie, said: “We truly believe that Cath Kidston is a brand for our time, and we have worked incredibly hard to create a sustainable, profitable future for the brand following our restructuring.

“Our customers sit at the heart of our new strategy, and it was fundamental to our vision that we could maintain Cath Kidston’s role of inspiring the everyday optimist with our hand drawn prints and joyful products.

“Particularly as we all face our new normal world, the role of bringing moments of joy to everyday is even more relevant.”

Cath Kidston chair Marty Wikstrom, added: “[Cath Kidston] is a brand with a powerful heritage and loyal customer following that has pivoted its business strategy to ensure that it is positioned for success in a changing retail environment.”

Cath Kidston’s administration process occured at the height of lockdown in April this year and led to the closure of 60 of its UK stores and the loss of 908 jobs. Baring Private Equity Asia had secured a pre-pack administration deal that saw it buy back Cath Kidston’s brand, wholesale and online operations.

The retailer’s 100-plus stores overseas, especially in Asia, were untouched from the administration process.


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