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Cath Kidston to close down stores permanently with loss of 900 jobs

PUBLISHED: 13:59 21 April 2020 | UPDATED: 16:38 22 April 2020

Dalmatian owners descended on the Norwich Cath Kidston store in 2017 when the retailer launched its 101 Dalmatians range. Pic: Archant

Dalmatian owners descended on the Norwich Cath Kidston store in 2017 when the retailer launched its 101 Dalmatians range. Pic: Archant

Clothing and accessories store Cath Kidston, with a shop in Norwich, is to permanently shut all its 60 UK stores.

The fashion retailer confirmed its stores will not reopen once the coronavirus lockdown is over after the company’s owners secured a deal to buy back its brand and online operations following its fall into administration.

Two weeks ago, the store, which has an outlet in Castle Street, announced it was furloughing 820 staff and preparing to call in the administrators.

The company, which also has 180 more shops abroad, opened in Norwich in 2012.

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Baring Private Equity Asia (BPEA), which has held a stake in the retailer since 2014, said it would buy the online business, brand and wholesale arm from administrators Alvarez & Marsal.

It said the move would result in the “cessation of the retail store network”.

The company confirmed that only 32 of its 940 staff would see their jobs secured as part of the deal.

Melinda Paraie, CEO, said: “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.

“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.”

A spokesman for BPEA 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.”

Designer Cath Kidston opened her first shop in London’s Holland Park in 1994, selling hand-embroidered tea-towels and brightly renovated furniture.

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