British home-furnishings and apparel retailer Cath Kidston will permanently close all 60 of its stores in the UK, realigning itself as a wholesaler and online brand.
The locations, currently shuttered due to the coronavirus lockdown, will not reopen once the crisis is over following its parent company Baring Private Equity Asia securing a pre-pack administration deal under which it bought back the brand and online operations.
The firm’s stores in Asia, including Malaysia, will continue to trade as normal after lockdowns are lifted.
The closure of physical stores in Britain has put 908 staff out of work, with only 32 positions spared.
Measures to revive the flailing business were apparently working before the emergence of the coronavirus outbreak.
“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,” said Cath Kidston CEO Melinda Paraie. “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.”
The brand will live on in the territory as a digital business.
“Going forward we will continue to help the company grow through its e-commerce platform and international wholesale and franchise businesses,” said a spokesperson for Baring Private Equity Asia, adding that the firm’s management had established “a viable future for the business in the UK.”