Next continues its buying up of beleaguered brands with the purchase of Cath Kidston, the retro retailer with a unique offering of flowers and chintz.
In 2020, Cath Kidston went into administration winding up a majority of UK stores and seeing the end to over one thousand roles within the organisation.
It was then purchased and repackaged by private investment business, Baring Private Equity Asia, which then in July 2022 sold the business to Hilco Capital.
In a deal worth $10.5 million Next has bought the name and intellectual property of Cath Kidston from administrator’s PWC
Next has purchased other challenged brands over recent months including the country-casual fashion brand Joules, and furniture retailer Made.com.
In a carefully unified experience, Next offers consumers a wealth of brand choice, with quick delivery, slick return operations and in-house credit facilities. It has thrived in fashion and homewares where many traditional competitors have failed to get it right.
Cath Kidston was founded in 1993 and is known for a celebration of chintzy styles across fashion and homewares. Originally the brand retailed from an independent Holland Park, London store which combined vintage finds with curated fabrics. Catherine Kidston MBE went on to sell the brand in 2010.
Speaking of the Marmite love/hate for the brand, Kidston once told the BBC Radio programme Desert Island Discs: “People either love it and want a little bit of it very much, or want to stab us”.
In recent months UK consumers have felt increasing pressure with a cost-of-living crisis that has impacted spend particularly on non-essentials. This squeeze on finances has challenged many brands particularly within the middle market. Luxury proves to still be, in the main, resilient, with group trading for LVMH up and share price buoyant.
New York originated brand LoveShackFancy also has a core focus on florals and vintages looks but has seen recent expansion with multiple store and location openings.
Stacy Lilien, president of LoveShackFancy explained to WWD magazine: “Overall our business is up 100 percent year-over-year, and we’ve seen significant growth over all three channels. Wholesale has been incredible, e-commerce and stores. And our businesses are a third, a third, a third.”
So clearly floral love is not the problem here, it’s the way the story is told. One for Next to contemplate as they introduce the brand into the fold.