High street fashion giant Next has agreed to buy the rights to the troubled Cath Kidston fashion label.
The Leicestershire retail giant said it had agreed to acquire the brand name, domain names and intellectual property of CK Acquisitions Ltd from the administrators for £8.5 million.
As part of the agreement, the cathkidston.com website domain will be licensed back to the administrators for up to 12 weeks to allow stock to be cleared before the brand is relaunched under its new ownership.
It is the latest in a string of recent investments by Next which has seen it take stakes in Joules, Victoria Secrets and Reiss in the past couple of years.
It comes three years after Cath Kidston announced it was shutting its 60 UK stores with the loss of more than 900 jobs.
Back in the spring of 2020 it said its stores would not reopen once the first lockdown was over after the company’s owners secured a deal to buy back its brand and online operations following its fall into administration.
At the time its 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.
“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.”
PwC, which handled the sale to Next, said Cath Kidston was an e-commerce-led, international home furnishing and lifestyle brand with headquarters in London, focussing on “quintessentially British handicraft and vintage themed items”.
It said the transaction was completed as the retail sector continued to be exposed to testing market conditions.
Zelf Hussain, joint administrator and partner at PwC, said: “Cath Kidston is a well loved lifestyle brand founded in 1993 and I am pleased to say that it has been bought by Next who will make sure it continues to flower under their ownership.
“The company has over recent years navigated through incredibly challenging market conditions including the pandemic restrictions, and most recently the decline in consumer spending driven by cost of living pressures and rising costs.
“In the short term its four stores will continue to remain open whilst operations are wound down. Sadly, there will be redundancies during this period of wind down and we will continue to support the staff throughout this period.”
The company employs 125 people, with stores in London, Ashford, Cheshire Oaks, and York. These will remain open to trade down stock before closing permanently.
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