British high street giant Next is once again bolstering its portfolio, this time by announcing plans to acquire fashion and lifestyle brand Cath Kidston.
Next said in a brief statement Tuesday: “The company announces that it has agreed to acquire the brand name, domain names and intellectual property of CK Acquisitions Ltd from the administrators for consideration of 8.5 million pounds.
It added that: “The cathkidston.com domain will be licenced back to the administrators for a period of up to 12 weeks to effect stock clearance, prior to relaunch under the company's ownership.”
It follows a report Wednesday by Sky News that said Made was in “advanced talks” to buy the struggling retailer, though one source said the deal was not guaranteed to go ahead.
Job losses expected
It is understood that around 125 jobs are now at risk, the Guardian reports, as administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers looks to sell remaining stock before closing Cath Kidston’s four stores in London, Ashford, Cheshire Oaks, and York.
The move will further grow the empire of Next, which in recent months has snapped up troubled rivals including Made.com and Joules.
Cath Kidston, known for its vintage chic fashion, has faced difficulties in the past few years as the pandemic resulted in store closures and the shift of consumers to more casual clothing - all of which was on top of a meteoric rise of ever more online competitors.
The company was rescued out of administration in 2020 by Baring Private Equity Asia (BPEA), which had bought a majority stake in the retailer back in 2016. The rescue deal resulted in a loss of nearly 1,000 jobs at Cath Kidston as it repositioned itself as a digital-first business.
It meant the company closed its Cath Kidston physical store estate in the UK, though it still operated a number of locations in Saudi Arabia.
Fast forward to just eight months ago and Hilco Capital acquired Cath Kidston after BPEA put its stake in the business up for sale.