Demand in the UK and Asia for Cath Kidston’s floral-decorated day bags and mugs has helped to propel the retailer to sales of more than £100m for the first time.
Cath Kidston founded the eponymous business with its first store in Holland Park, London, in 1993. However, it is now growing swiftly overseas and has more stores outside the UK than inside.
The company’s latest results for the year to March 31 show annual sales grew 19pc to £105m, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation rose 13pc to £21m.
Ms Kidston remains in the business as creative director and holds a stake of around 20pc. However, Cath Kidston is now controlled by US private equity group TA Associates, which bought a 60pc stake in the business in 2010.
Kenny Wilson, chief executive of Cath Kidston, said the owners were “happy with the long-term strategy” and there are “no plans” to sell the business.
He added: “The plan that TA have is allowing us to invest back in the brand long-term.”
Mr Wilson, who joined in 2011 from Claire’s Accessories, said the priority for Cath Kidston is consolidating in the UK and growing in Asia.
The company has 118 stores, 33 of which opened in the last year, with 58 in the UK and 60 overseas.
This year the company will open a new flagship store on London’s Piccadilly, while a major new store will also open in Shanghai, China.
“If you want to be a great global brand you have to be strong in your home market,” Mr Wilson explained.
Sales rose 21pc in the UK over the last year despite the challenging economic environment, although international sales grew 53pc.
Mr Wilson claimed that Cath Kidston had established itself in the UK as both an aspirational and affordable brand, with popular products ranging from its £50 day bag to mugs that cost as little as £5. As well as selling bags and mugs, Cath Kidston’s striking floral patterns appear on fashion and accessories such as mobile phone cases.
“What we know for sure is that when [customers] walk into our stores they feel it is warm and cheerful,” he added.
The expansion plans in Asia involve opening new stores in Singapore and Indonesia, where the middle class population is growing rapidly, as well as expanding further in China and Japan.
“We feel confident that consumers in Asia like the brand,” Mr Wilson explained.
In Europe, Cath Kidston is trialing concession stores in El Corte Ingles department stores in Spain.
However, Mr Wilson said it is “too soon” to consider entering the US again. Stores in New York and Los Angeles were closed before his arrival as chief executive.
“We are highly cash generative and our strong balance sheet gives us the perfect platform to continue to grow the business globally,” he added.
“With the broad appeal of our products across the globe and the strong customer response to our brand in both the UK and Asia, we look to the future with confidence.”
Ms Kidston remains involved in the business “on a daily basis”, according to Mr Wilson.
At a pre-tax level, which takes into account interest payments on shareholder loan notes, losses in the business decreased by 70pc to £0.7m.