Leicester retailer eyeing deal for Cath Kidston

Cath Kidston, High Street / Oast House Archive / CC BY-SA 2.0

Next is reportedly preparing to snap up ailing high street retailer Cath Kidston – a deal which, if completed, would represent its third swoop for a stricken lifestyle and fashion brand in less than six months.

According to Sky News, the Leicester-headquartered retailer could complete a deal for the vintage clothing, gifts and homeware business “as soon as Tuesday” (28 March).

Once a prominent fixture of the UK high street, Cath Kidston crashed into administration in 2020 with the loss of hundreds of jobs. It was rescued by Baring Private Equity Asia and latterly sold to Hilco Capital, but its physical footprint is now severely depleted.

Sky understands Hilco has been holding talks with prospective bidders “for several weeks.” The firm is being advised by PwC over a potential sale.

It is unclear what Next is planning for Cath Kidston should its bid prove successful, but the move is strongly aligned with its strategy of snapping up failing high street names.

In December, Next made an eleventh-hour swoop for fellow Leicestershire retailer Joules, saving over 100 stores and around 1,450 jobs. It gazumped Foschini Group, the South African-based owner of Whistles and Hobbs, to acquire the brand.

A month beforehand, it acquired the IP, brand and website of collapsed fashion and furniture retailer Made.com, but 573 redundancies were made.

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