British retailer Cath Kidston announces its brand transformation plan


British retailer Cath Kidston has announced its brand transformation plans, with a core focus on digital acceleration and global growth.

The plan follows its restructuring in April. With renewed support and investment from owner Baring Private Equity Asia, the company has realigned its cost base and structure to create an economically viable operating model as a brand-led, digital first retailer, with e-commerce accounting for 85% of the business.

The retailer has identified opportunities to bolster brand relevance and product innovation, as well as improving its digital presence and international partnerships to deliver a sustained profitability model over the next three years.

Most significantly, Cath Kidston, which was first established in 1993, will draw on its British heritage to operate as a digital-first retailer in the UK, while leveraging its wholesale relationships and franchise partnerships in over 35 countries.

Over the last 18 months, the brand has been investing in its digital infrastructure; upgrading its e-commerce platform, activating a CRM platform to enhance tailored customer interactions and instituting a cross-border payment and shipping solution to open up over 200 markets by the end of the year.

Cath Kidston’s Piccadilly store will return in November as its global flagship, the only high street retail store, set up to showcase its 27 years of British design and print heritage and to provide a true brand experience for customers.

Other transformation measures include streamlining Cath Kidston’s product range by curating content for customers in more meaningful ways and refining the offer to focus on key products and easier ways to shop. The company aims to reclaim its status as a gifting destination where 1 in 5 UK customers have either bought or received a Cath Kidston gift, and will continue to build new categories to reflect growing consumer demand in areas such as Home and Kids.

Growth plans also include significant investment in its people, appointing two senior hires to join the London leadership team. Holly Marler, formerly Design Director at Liberty London joined in October, as Creative Director, overseeing the brand creative and product evolution, and Rob Silsbury, formerly Global E-commerce & Marketing Director at The Dune Group joined in September, as Digital Director to lead online growth.

Melinda Paraie, chief executive at Cath Kidston, commented: “We truly believe that Cath Kidston is a brand for our time, and we have worked incredibly hard to create a sustainable, profitable future for the brand following our restructuring.

“Our customers sit at the heart of our new strategy, and it was fundamental to our vision that we could maintain Cath Kidston’s role of inspiring the everyday optimist with our hand drawn prints and joyful products. Particularly as we all face our new normal world, the role of bringing moments of joy to everyday is even more relevant.”

Marty Wikstrom, chair of Cath Kidston added: “We’re optimistic about what the future holds for Cath Kidston. This is a brand with a powerful heritage and loyal customer following that has pivoted its business strategy to ensure that it is positioned for success in a changing retail environment.”