21/04/2020 12:58 BST | Updated 21/04/2020 14:43 BST

Cath Kidston Permanently Shuts All 60 Stores, Axing More Than 900 Jobs

Only 32 of its 940 staff will see their jobs secured as part of a deal that will see the business exist solely online.

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Cath Kidston will permanently shut its 60 UK branches with the loss of more than 900 jobs.

The homewares retailer confirmed its shops would not reopen once the coronavirus lockdown is over after the company’s owners secured a deal to buy back its brand and online operations following its fall into administration.

Baring Private Equity Asia (BPEA), which has held a stake in the chain since 2014, said it will buy the online business, brand and wholesale arm from administrators Alvarez & Marsal.

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It said the move will result in the “cessation of the retail store network”.

The company confirmed that only 32 of its 940 staff will see their jobs secured as part of the deal.

Melinda Paraie, chief executive officer of Cath Kidston, said: “While we are pleased that the future of Cath Kidston has been secured, this is obviously an extremely difficult day as we say goodbye to many colleagues.

“Despite our very best efforts, against the backdrop of Covid-19, we were unable to secure a solvent sale of the business which would have allowed us to avoid administration and carry on trading in our current form.

“I would like to thank all our employees for their hard work, loyalty and patience over the last few weeks as we worked through this process.”

A spokesperson for BPEA said: “While we are disappointed that the Covid-19 crisis has resulted in the cessation of the retail store network and impacted many employees, we are pleased to have secured a future for a number of Cath Kidston staff and the Cath Kidston brand in the form of a viable digital business.

“Going forward we will continue to help the company grow through its e-commerce platform and international wholesale and franchise businesses.

“We would like to thank Melinda and the company’s management team for their hard work in managing through this difficult economic crisis and establishing a viable future for the business in the UK.”

It comes after struggling fashion chains Oasis and Warehouse collapsed into administration as the latest high street names to fail during the coronavirus lockdown.

Around 2,000 workers across 92 stores and 437 concessions are affected, although administrators said the majority would remain furloughed for now.

Debenhams also entered administration for the second time in a year in a bid to protect itself during the shutdown.

The company’s 142 stores were already closed and most of the 22,000 members of staff on furlough before the owners took the step.