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International sales soar at Cath Kidston

Turnover at British lifestyle retailer Cath Kidston jumped 8% to £129.2m for the year to 26 March, following a 20% increase in international sales.

Sales were particularly strong in Asian markets, including Japan and Thailand. A further 10 Japanese store openings are planned for the current financial year bringing the total to 40.  

Later this year Cath Kidston will be launching in Latin America for the first time with stores due to open in Argentina and Mexico. 

Group EBITDA at the retailer was up 27.4% to £9.3m for the year while operating profit totalled £800,000, up from an operating loss of £2.1m in 2016. 

UK sales were up 3.3% to £87.7m compared with 2015/16, while online sales across all markets were up 10%.

The business said increased full price sales and a reduction in promotional activity led to a 83 bps increase in gross margin during the period. 

Cath Kidston continued to migrate its supply chain away from China during the year in order to mitigate the effects of rising production prices in the country and adverse foreign exchange rates.

The total number of stores at the end of the year remains broadly flat at 219, compared to 217 in 2016. During the year the business opened six shops in Thailand, four in Europe, three in the Middle East and three in India. This was offset by a number of stores closing in China, Malaysia and Singapore.

In 2015 the group bought back its Japanese franchise business.

Kenny Wilson, CEO of Cath Kidston, said 2016 was a “strong year”. 

“The buyback of the Japanese franchise is now paying off and was a significant contributor to the international sales growth. Our growing international business helps mitigate the effects of weaker sterling and we have already made good progress in growing our international footprint even further. 

“The breadth of our customer base, in terms of the wide age range we serve and the diversity of our product range, has always acted to protect Cath Kidston. The customer base is expanding further with campaigns including the Disney collections and Future Florals range amongst our most successful product initiatives ever with many of the products selling out within hours. Today we are reaching new customers in both the UK and overseas and we expect this momentum to continue this year with further very exciting product campaigns.”

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