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Cath Kidston aims to double fashion sales

Cath Kidston is ramping up its fashion output for autumn 14 as it looks to double sales in the division.

The retailer is expanding its womenswear collection from 65 pieces for autumn 13 to 117 for autumn 14, and will feature new categories including outerwear and occasionwear. The casual trousers range, which was introduced for spring 14, will also be extended.

At present clothing makes up 14% of UK sales, but Cath Kidston marketing director Sue Chidler said there was the potential to double this over the next couple of years.

“We have seen a consistent increase year on year in fashion sales,” she told Drapers. “It’s early days but the extended line could see that figure double.”

The popularity of the retailer’s novelty prints has attracted a younger clientele according to Chidler and its London flagship store on Piccadilly, which opened on December 5, will become a test bed for the expanding fashion offer.

“The mushroom and bird prints sell out as soon as they hit the shopfloor. Having the space to merchandise the clothing and accessories together has really made a difference,” said Chidler. The 7,000 sq ft Piccadilly store is more than four times Cath Kidston’s average UK store size of 1,680 sq ft, and houses its full 65-piece clothing collection for the first time.

Founder Cath Kidston was also enthusiastic about the opportunities for growth within clothing.

“Dresses always do well for us, but it will be great to see customer reaction to our other pieces in store,” she said. “We’ll be able to gauge what sells well here at the flagship and take it from there.”

The business plans to open a further five to seven stores in the UK next year, on top of 50 openings in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. At present Cath Kidston has 144 stores worldwide, of which 68 are in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

The flagship opening comes as the retailer is being primed for a £250m sale after private equity owner TA Associates drafted in investment bank UBS to explore options for the retailer. Interest is expected from private equity firms, wealth and pension funds and other retailers. The company declined to comment on the sale.

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