Cath Kidston closing all UK stores to trade permanently online

April 22, 2020

Vintage-inspired fashion chain Cath Kidston has announced it will close all 60 of its UK stores to trade exclusively online.

Earlier this month the struggling retailer appointed Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) as its administrators but it has now confirmed that its parent company Baring Private Equity Asia, will buy the brand and retain the its e-commerce platform and franchise and wholesale businesses.

This means that Cath Kidston will now become a digital-only retailer, with shops including its outlet store at Cheshire Oaks, shutting for good.

Only 32 out of the retailer’s 940 UK employees will retain their jobs to continue running the business online, according to national reports.

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Melinda Paraie, CEO 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.”

Cath Kidston used to have a branch on Chester’s Eastgate Street but it closed in June 2018, having been a fixture in the city centre for six years.

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Its trade could have been affected when an outlet store opened at Cheshire Oaks in April 2017.

A spokesperson for Baring Private Equity Asia (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.”

The brand was set up by Cath Kidston in 1993 and has more than 200 outlets around the world.

By Carmella de Lucia

Source: Cheshire Live

Marks & Spencer is giving free Easter eggs to NHS staff, carers and emergency workers – here’s how to claim yours

April 10, 2020

Easter weekend is just around the corner, and Marks and Spencer is saying thank you to all NHS staff, carers and emergency workers by giving them a free Percy Pig Easter egg.

The offer was highlighted on the Hotukdeals website. They wrote, “NHS, Blue badge holders and Blue Light card holders can get a free Percy Pig Easter egg at M&S instore. The below promo was spotted at Wrexham but been told it’s national (excludes franchise stores and petrol shops), on selected NHS days.”

When is the offer available?

M&S confirmed that the Easter egg freebie will be available this Friday (10 April), which is also Good Friday.

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Which stores will the offer be running in?

It will be available in all M&S shops, excluding franchise stores.

Who is it available for?

The offer will run all day for all NHS staff, carers and emergency workers, in order to say thank you for all of their ongoing hard work during the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesperson for Marks and Spencer said, “Very proud to be doing a little something to say thank you.”

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How do I get one?

In order to get your free Percy Pig Easter egg, all you need to do is show your badge or card in store.

Where can I buy Easter eggs online?

If you’re currently self-isolating, but want to make sure you include an Easter egg in your online shop, then some supermarkets are currently selling these seasonal treats.

Sainsbury’s is currently selling a Thorntons Unicorn Egg, as well as a Thorntons Milk Chocolate Bunny at a discounted price on its online store.

Tesco is also selling a range of classic treats from the popular chocolate-maker’s easter collection, including Thorntons Easter Egg Collection and a speciality Chocolate Dinosaur Egg.

By Helen Johnson

Source: Hartlepool Mail

Coronavirus: Clarks to temporarily close all UK stores

March 19, 2020

Footwear specialist Clarks has announced a temporary closure of all of its UK and Ireland stores in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement today, Clarks said it would temporarily close all of its 441 stores in the UK and Ireland immediately in order to protect “the health and safety of our employees, customers and surrounding communities”.

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General manager for the UK and Ireland Joe Ulloa said while stores were temporarily closed “store employees will continue to receive pay and benefits”.

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He noted that some of Clarks’ franchise stores “may remain open” and said UK customers could continue to shop the retailer’s full range at its online store.

By Hugh Radojev

Source: Retail Week

German kitchen retailer Kutchenhaus to open in the former Slug & Lettuce unit in Altrincham

February 7, 2020

German kitchen retailer Kutchenhaus is to open in the former Slug & Lettuce unit in Altrincham.

The 8,000 sq ft, four-storey building on Stamford New Road was sold by Cream Investments to Buzz Communications in a deal worth £915,000 back in November 2017, two months after the closure of the bar.

Now, after a long period on the market, the 2,000 sq ft ground-floor space – which has been completely renovated – has been let on a 10-year lease to Kutchenhaus. It will open its doors in April.

The above floors have already been remodelled into six two-bedroom apartments, which are all let.

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Joshua Bowyer, Kutchenhaus director, said: “I am extremely excited to be bringing the Kutchenhaus brand to Altrincham.

“It is an area we have been looking at for some time and feel this unit will make a fantastic showroom. We can’t wait to open the doors in April and begin creating wonderful kitchens for the people of Altrincham.”

Established in 2004 at Trafford Retail Park, Kutchenhaus is the UK arm of Nobilia, the world’s largest kitchen manufacturer. It has 31 kitchen outlets around the UK and operates on a franchise basis.

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Daniel Lee, director, Regional Property Solutions, responsible for the management of Buzz Communication’s property portfolio, said: “The public realm improvements and new occupiers such as Evuna, Ferrious and Ginkgoon continue to make Stamford New Road a desirable alternative retail pitch for the town centre. This is only set to improve with the impending re-development of The Grafton’s. This commercial letting is the final piece of the jigsaw realising the full potential of this investment opportunity.”

By David Prior

Source: Altrincham Today

Clarks shoe shop in Wilmslow converted to franchise

January 13, 2020

A CLARKS shoe shop in Wilmslow has been converted to operate as a franchise store after Tonks Shoes secured six-figure funding from NatWest.

The five current employees will continue to work at the shoe shop on Grove Street.

The business has also bought a second franchise store of the iconic shoe brand in Sheffield, with a further 12 staff, and bringing the company’s total of Clarks franchises to seven.

Established in 1978, Tonks Shoes Ltd was launched by Jeffrey and Elizabeth Tonks as an independent shoe retailer selling men’s, women’s and children’s shoes.

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Michael Tonks, their son, took over the business in 1982, opening franchises under the Tonks Shoes’ brand, until the firm became an official Clarks franchisee in 2000, changing its existing stores to come under the Clarks brand.

Now in its third generation, Matthew Tonks is managing director of the Leigh-headquartered business, overseeing its seven franchises across the north west and Yorkshire.

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The two recent acquisitions bring the company’s total number of staff to close to 100 and will contribute to an annual turnover of more than £4 million.

Matthew Tonks said: “By adding two more stores to our portfolio we have supported Clarks’ high street presence and kept experienced staff in the process.

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“The backing from NatWest has enabled us to take ownership of this valued Wilmslow store, continuing to bring the products from this established and iconic brand to the town.”

Ruth Kirby, relationship manager at NatWest, said: “Tonks Shoes Ltd are passionate about supporting high street stores in towns across the North of England.

“We look forward to supporting the business in the future as Matthew and the team look to expand the firm’s portfolio further.”

By Ian Ross

Source: Knutsford Guardian

Body Shop relocates flagship Belfast store

January 6, 2020

Belfast’s Body Shop store situated on Donegall Place is relocating to Victoria Square from today.

The beauty retailer will now operate from a unit on the lower level of the shopping centre, next to shirt shop TM Lewin.

It will become Northern Ireland’s flagship store for the brand which was founded by the late Dame Anita Roddick in Brighton in 1976.

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The retailer began as a small shop providing skincare in refilled bottles that would see it become a brand that “could be a force of good for the world”.

It was a pioneer in non-animal tested products and today it has become a retail business that serves over 30m customers worldwide, employing 10,000 people with a further 12,000 in its franchise team.

Ms Roddick sold the business to L’Oreal in 2006 just a year before she died.

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Two years ago it was bought by Brazilian company Natura in a £844m deal.

And, on Friday, Natura announced that it had also completed the purchase of global beauty retail brand Avon, following the sale which was announced on May 22, 2019.

There are currently 3,000 Body Shop shops located in 70 countries worldwide, three of which are in Northern Ireland.

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Among its most popular products over the years have been Body Shop’s oil fragrances including White Musk, which the retailer still sells.

Its more modern product heroes include its Body Shop Drops of Youth serum, one of which sells every 23 seconds according to one report. One of its Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Mask sells every 17 seconds.

By Emma Deighan

Source: Belfast Telegraph

Co-op Group eyes same-day delivery service for franchise stores

January 4, 2020

The Co-op Group is considering expanding its same-day online delivery service to franchise stores “in the near future”, after confirming plans to roll out the service to 650 company-owned stores this year.

In January, Brighton, Bournemouth and Southampton will be among the first new cities to get the service, which is currently only available in London and Manchester.

The rollout over the next 12 months includes services from the Co-op’s own dedicated online shop, known as, which uses low-emission transport including eco-friendly bikes. By the end of the year same-day deliveries will be available in 650 stores in nearly 100 major towns and cities.

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A Co-op spokeswoman said the group would like to offer the service to franchise stores “in the near future”, with additional back office work required to make it feasible.

The Co-op launched its franchise programme to independent Nisa and Costcutter retailers last year. Somerset retailer Richard Williams became the first Nisa member to convert his store to the Co-op franchise model towards the end of last year.

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The Co-op will also expand its partnership with Deliveroo, which provides on-demand delivery of convenience grocery essentials in under 30 minutes.

Ordering through Deliveroo will be extended to 400 stores, reaching around 100 major towns and cities. Deliveroo will caters for customers who want a quick, impulse buy rather than scheduled same-day delivery, the Co-op said.

By Robin Mannering

Source: Convenience Store

Kutchenhaus showroom opens in Orchard Shopping Centre, Taunton

December 20, 2019

GERMAN kitchen retailer Kutchenhaus has this month opened a new showroom in Taunton – its 32nd outlet in the UK.

The company has taken on three staff across customer services and kitchen design based at the 1,300 sq ft unit.

Manager Graham Jones has worked for some of the biggest kitchen retailers in the UK over the past 30 years

He said: “The team is incredibly excited to have opened the brand-new showroom in Taunton.

“It has taken three months to completely transform the space to Kutchenhaus’s high-quality standards.

“We’re eager to meet shoppers and introduce them to our products.”

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Kutchenhaus products are made by Nobilia in Germany, which claims to be the largest and most technologically advanced kitchen manufacturer in Europe.

Sean Ford, national head of sales and operations for Kutchenhaus, said: “Kutchenhaus is on an ambitious growth path over the next two to three years, so it’s fantastic to see the opening of our latest showroom in Taunton.

“We’re very excited to be part of the new showroom opening in Taunton, which is a busy shopping destination with a vibrant atmosphere for many people in Devon and Somerset.

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“The new showroom will be an engaging store environment and will deliver a high-quality product, a market opportunity which we know is currently in high demand.

“We wish Graham and the team all the best and wait to see their future success.”

Established in 2004, Kutchenhaus is a franchise business owned by Nobilia.

By Phil Hill

Source: Somerset County Gazette

Mothercare appoints Boots as its UK franchise partner

December 16, 2019

Mothercare products will continue to be sold in the UK – via new franchise partner Boots.

The nursery retail brand, which put its UK retail arm into administration last month, said today that it had appointed Boots as its franchise partner for this market.

The news comes days after Mothercare said its UK stores had not proved financially viable in an increasingly discount-driven market. At the same it said the only viable way for it to sell in this market would be via a franchisee – and that it was in ongoing discussions on the subject.

Today it unveiled the new exclusive partnership with Boots, which it says will offer significant opportunities to both Mothercare and Boots, owned by Walreens Boots Alliance.

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Boots will sell Mothercare-branded clothing, home, and travel equipment such as pushchairs and car seats both online via and in its stores. The range will be available online from mid 2020 and in larger branches of Boots from late summer 2020. In time, Boots will also host Mothercare shops within its stores.

An initial agreement has been signed, with final details expected to be in place in the next quarter. The partnership will run for an initial five years and is organised on similar terms to Mothercare’s existing international franchises.

Mark Newton-Jones, chief executive of Mothercare, said: “I am delighted to announced that we have taken our long-standing partnership with Boots to this next stage. In Boots, another much loved British heritage brand, we believe that Mothercare has found the right home in the UK. Boots is at the heart of one of the largest healthcare businesses in the world, and Mothercare will fit in as the specialist brand for parents and young children in both Boots stores and online. We know the team at Boots well from our successful Mini Club partnership which has been established over many years and we now look forward to working in an even stronger collaboration with the Boots team for the future.

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“Today’s announcement is fantastic news for the brand and the millions of Mothercare customers across the UK. It is also great news for Mothercare and our wider group of stakeholders after what has been a tough period. This partnership between Mothercare and Boots UK brings certainty and scale to our continuing group. These are exciting times as we enter into these new arrangements with a partner of the scale, scope and stature of Boots.”

Boots, founded 170 years ago, currently sells from more than 2,400 stores in the UK and online via its website. It is a Leading retailer in IRUK Top500 research.

By Chloe Rigby

Source: Internet Retailing

Mothercare sales plunge by 13% in first half amidst restructuring

December 12, 2019

Mothercare ends first half of 2019 on the low. The British childrenswear company, immersed in a restructuring process, has dropped its sales by 13.2%, to 324.1 million pounds (426.1 million dollars) in the first half of its fiscal year. The company’s gross profit stood at 21.2 million pounds (27.7 million dollars), up 14% year-on-year.

“This has been an extraordinarily challenging period in Mothercare’s 58-year history, particularly for our committed, hard-working colleagues who have worked tirelessly to sustain our UK retail operation,” stated Mark Newton-Jones, chief executive officer of Mothercare, in a statement.

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“It was simply not financially viable to maintain the UK store estate and supporting infrastructure any longer without putting the whole Mothercare group at risk,” added the executive. In the first half, like-for-like sales of ​​Mothercare in the country dropped by 2%, while online sales increased by 68.9%. The total revenue of the group in the country reduced by 19.2%, to 131.8 million pounds (173.3 million dollars).

Mothercare sales dropped in the United Kingdom by 19% and in its international markets by 4%

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In its international markets, revenue fell by 4%, to 102.3 million pounds (134.5 million dollars). Like-for-like sales fell by 5.7%. Newton-Jones explained that, although closures in the United Kingdom had been a “very difficult decision”, it marks the end of the transformation of the group into a “cash generative and profitable business”.

“We believe that, without the financial and management burden of running a UK retail operation, we can singularly focus Mothercare on its global international franchise,” added Newton-Jones. The executive also stated that 130 million babies born every year across the world, compared to 700,000 in the United Kingdom.

Source: The MDS