COVID-19 blamed for Cath Kidston administration

Cath Kidston has filed for administration, closing all 60 of its UK stores and losing 908 jobs.

Parent company Baring Private Equity Asia secured a pre-pack administration, which meant it bought back Cath Kidston’s brand and online operations from Alvarez & Marsal.

A statement explained that this would result in the “cessation of the retail store network”, so Cath Kidston will now only trade online and wholesale. Only 32 of the clothing and homeware retailer's 940 staff will see their jobs secured as part of the deal.

The retailer has more than 100 stores overseas, mainly in Asia, with this arm of the business apparently untouched.

“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,” chief executive Melinda Paraie said. “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.

A Baring Private Equity Asia spokesman 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."

Alvarez & Marsal was brought in last month to review Cath Kidston’s strategic options, following losses of more than £27 million in the last two financial years.

Baring Private Equity Asia became a substantial shareholder in 2014, before taking full control in 2016.

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