Cath Kidston, the beloved British retail brand known for its vibrant floral prints and homeware products, is reportedly up for sale. The company has been facing significant challenges even before the pandemic hit, but the global health crisis dealt a major blow to its operations. Seeking a solution, the owner of Cath Kidston, Baring Private Equity Asia (BPEA), has enlisted the services of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to find a suitable buyer for the company.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced Cath Kidston to make tough choices, including the closure of numerous physical retail locations and the unfortunate downsizing of its workforce, resulting in nearly a thousand job cuts. In 2020, as the UK entered its first lockdown, the company fell into administration. However, it swiftly underwent a pre-pack deal and was purchased by its previous owner, leading to the closure of all 60 of its UK shops. The brand did manage to reopen its flagship store in Piccadilly, London, which now operates as a Cath Kidston brand megastore.

BPEA took full control of Cath Kidston in 2016 and has been in charge for the past six years. While the company has not publicly confirmed its intent to sell, sources reveal that PwC has been engaging in discussions with potential buyers for several weeks. At this stage, no specific candidates have been named, and the prospective value of the brand remains uncertain.

Currently helmed by CEO Melinda Paraie, who joined the company in 2018 following her stint at luxury brand Coach, Cath Kidston continues to function primarily as a wholesale-led business. Despite the hurdles encountered along the way, the brand remains resilient.

The potential sale of Cath Kidston is a testament to the ongoing changes and difficulties faced by the retail industry, exacerbated by the pandemic. The rise of e-commerce and the evolving shopping habits of consumers have compelled many retailers to reevaluate their strategies and adapt to the new dynamics of the market. As Cath Kidston explores its options for the future, it will undoubtedly be compelling to witness how the brand evolves and adjusts in response to these challenges.

For more information on Cath Kidston’s potential sale, please visit:
1. BBC News article on Cath Kidston
2. The Telegraph article on Cath Kidston’s owner selling goodwill and IP in China