Cath Kidston files notice of appointment of administrators

Cath Kidston

Cath Kidston has filed notice of its intention to appoint Alvarez & Marsal as administrators as the stresses of the coronavirus shut-downs start to bite on the high street.

The vintage-style lifestyle retailer filed the notice on Friday evening, according to Sky News, having previously instructed Alvarez & Marsal to start the search for a buyer.

It is said that there has been some interest in the chain, which operates 60 stores in the UK employs around 900 staff, the majority of whom are furloughed. Cath Kidston also operates around 180 stores internationally.

The business is currently owned by Baring Private Equity Asia, which became a substantial shareholder in 2014 and took full control of the business in 2016.

Cath Kidston was established by the entrepreneur of the same name in 1993 and sold a majority stake to TA Associates in 2010. The business is currently led by Melinda Paraie, who was drafted in from Coach in 2018 to execute a turnaround.

The business has struggled in recent years with its latest available accounts showing an operating loss of £19.6m on sales of £130.7m in the year to the end of March 2018. UK sales accounted for £91.3m.

In a statement the company said: “The notice of intention forms part of the process by which Cath Kidston is continuing to work with A&M to explore all options for the company in the current climate.”

The news comes after department store chain Debenhams also filed notice of its intent to appoint KPMG as administrators as early as next week. No firm decision has been made to appoint KPMG in this capacity, which would be the chain’s second administration within a year if it went ahead.