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Retailer Spotlight: Cath Kidston


Posted At: 10 December 2014 10:29 AM
Related Categories: Retailers


Cath Kidston was first opened by its eponymous owner, in 1993, in London’s Holland Park, originally selling vintage style fabrics and wallpapers. The brand, over the last 21 years, has gradually developed into a renowned British retailer, selling fashion accessories, clothing and household products in its distinctive floral and vintage patterns.

Cath Kidston is now sold in over 60 stores across the UK and Ireland and has a global portfolio of over 170 stores across France, China, Hong-Kong and the UK.


The History of Cath Kidston

It was recently reported that Cath Kidston has stood down as Creative Director, after 21 years of building up the brand and seeing it take off in the UK and Asia. Cath Kidston will remain as a non-executive director and an investor in the brand. She has planned her role replacements carefully within the company, to ensure a seamless transition, following her leaving the company officially last Friday, 5th December 2014.

20th November 2014 - Cath Kidston returned to Glasgow's Silverburn shopping centre for a second year, with the opening of a pop-up store which will trade through to at least January 2015.

31st July 2014 - Cath Kidston signed up to open at Birmingham's Grand Central development for September 2015.

22nd July 2014 - Cath Kidston sold a stake in the business to private equity firm, Baring Asia, as expanding in the continent was a key strategic priority.

4th July 2014 - Cath Kidston’s chief executive Kenny Wilson confirmed the company was in 'active discussions' with three buyers for a potential £250m sale.

20th January 2014 - Cath Kidston enjoyed the biggest jump in consumer awareness across all brands in its sector over the last three years.

23rd December 2013 - Cath Kidston delivered another year of strong growth, with turnover increasing by 18% to £105 million. Additionally, the company recorded a net profit of £15.7 million, an increase from 2012’s £13.6 million.

6th December 2013 - Cath Kidston opened its largest store in Piccadilly, the heart of Central London.

13th August 2013- Cath Kidston's floral-print handbags and homeware generated high sales in China, Japan, Thailand and Korea, helping the designer reach annual sales of more than £100m for the first time since it was founded in 1993.

12th August 2013- Cath Kidston’s EBIDTA jumped 13% to £21m as group sales broke the £100m barrier for the first time, climbing 19% to £105m!

11th June 2013- Cath Kidston marked its 20th anniversary with the announcement of a new flagship store in London’s Piccadilly.

11th January 2013- Cath Kidston saw a total sales uplift of 24% during December 2012. In the UK, sales climbed 23.5%. In this time, the brand also introduced a click and collect service, accounting for 10% of all online sales

9th January 2013- The financial results for the period ended 1 April 2012 showed a high level of growth and increased profitability, with an increased turnover (29%) and increased operating profit (10%). The company planned to further increase its retail portfolio, grow mail order and web sales, increase average order values, and encourage repeat visits.

Cath Kidston: A niche brand turned mainstream

Following the latest news that the brand’s founder has left the company, there has been some speculation as to what will happen to the brand in the New Year. The company has reportedly invested significant amounts of time and money into creative resources to ensure continuity of the brand’s 'distinctive handwriting' that is well-known and loved amongst the British market particularly.

Cath Kidston is a great example for the use of pop-up stores and concessions. The brand uses these techniques regularly to trial geographical areas and particular shopping centres globally to see first hand if demand is high enough to justify a permanent store.

We feel this steady and carefully executed growth strategy is a key factor contributing to the brand’s growing success. By investing in their own first hand research and taking the time to gauge if an area is financially viable through pop-up stores and concessions in larger stores, such as John Lewis, Cath Kidston have been able to grow its retail portfolio successfully, without major a dip in profit due to costs associated with store openings.

The company is reported to still have a lot of potential in China, South Korea and Spain in particular. In addition the use of pop-up stores and concessions will be incredibly useful in their approach to integrating into new countries and continents to gain their own first hand research on the new markets they plan to target.

We think this is a great way of utilising the power of pop-up stores and concessions, and has aided in the phenomenal growth of the niche brand, particularly over the last five years!

What do you think is in store for the brand in 2015?

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The opinions expressed herein are the personal opinion of the author and are not intended as statements of fact and do not represent the view of SnapShop or Pragma in any way.


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