Next snaps up troubled high street brand in £8.5m deal

Next has completed an £8.5m deal to acquire the brand and intellectual property of former high street staple Cath Kidston.

The deal does not include Cath Kidston’s four remaining UK stores, which will all be sold off, putting 125 jobs in jeopardy.

Once a prominent fixture of the UK high street, Cath Kidston collapsed in 2020 with the loss of hundreds of jobs. It was rescued by Baring Private Equity Asia and subsequently sold to Hilco Capital, but has recently fallen back into administration.

Cath Kidston is the third stricken lifestyle brand Next has acquired in the last six months.

In December, the Leicester firm made an eleventh-hour swoop for 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, 573 people lost their jobs after Next acquired the IP, brand and website of collapsed fashion and furniture retailer

Hilco and administrators at PwC are understood to have been in talks to sell the Cath Kidston brand for several weeks.

Zelf Hussain, partner at PwC and joint administrator, said: “Cath Kidston is a well-loved lifestyle brand founded in 1993 and I am pleased to say that it has been bought by Next who will make sure it continues to flower under their ownership.

“The company has over recent years navigated through incredibly challenging market conditions including the pandemic restrictions, and most recently the decline in consumer spending driven by cost of living pressures and rising costs.”

Meanwhile, Next’s annual results to the end of January have been published.

During the 12 month period, the retailer saw sales rise by 8.4% to £5.14bn, while profit before tax was up 5.7% to £870.4m.

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