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Losses widen at Cath Kidston

Lifestyle retailer Cath Kidston has posted a £10.5m EBITDA loss for the year to 25 March 2018, blaming cost pressures and a weakened sterling for the fall.

In year to March 2017, the retailer had made a restated loss of £8.4m, and the decrease came despite increases in sales both internationally and in the UK.

Group sales increased 1.2% to £130.7m, with UK sales growing by 5.4% to £91.3m – fuelled by strong growth in ecommerce.

In total, 11 Cath Kidston stores were relocated or closed in the UK during the year, with seven new openings, as part of a more strategic approach to physical retail, focusing on high footfall locations such as airports and stations.

The retailer became the latest business to blame its profit struggles on the fall in the value of the pound following the EU referendum in June 2016, as well as challenging trading conditions on the UK high street.

The brand also opened nine stores in Japan, where sales grew by 5.4% for the year, in the coming year 10 additional Japanese openings are planned as Cath Kidston invests in growing the market.

The business also entered into a franchise agreement with a new Chinese partner, which is targeting the potential addition of 50 new stores over the next five years.

Melinda Paraie, joined the retailer as CEO in June,  after former chief executive Kenny Wilson left the business to become CEO of Dr Martens. Commenting on the results, she said: “We are working on lots of exciting initiatives that will strengthen the brand globally and grow the business to the next level.

”These initiatives include bringing product innovation and relevance to the market more quickly, investing in our global ecommerce platform and adopting a more digitally-focused marketing strategy. Finally, we will continue working to maximise the potential of our store footprint in the UK and to expand overseas, both in established and new international markets.”

It has been a challenging year for the lifestyle retailer, which announced it was reviewing its store portfolio in September, renewing leases on a case by case basis.

The business also suffered a wave of high profile departures. In addition to WIlson’s departure in May,  Drapers revealed in June that Cath Kidston’s chief operating officer Geert Peeters had also been poached by Dr Martens.

Chief financial officer Neil Harrington left the lifestyle retailer in September, while head of buying for fashion and accessories Fiona Parker left in July.

Director of marketing Sue Chidler left the same month, after five years in the role.

In June, Drapers revealed that Cath Kidston’s chief operating officer Geert Peeters had been poached by Dr Martens.

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