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Cath Kidston sees sales rise to £144 million

Cath Kidston, the fashion and homewares retailer, has boosted sales over the last year as it rolls out plans to push ahead with its international expansion.

The firm, which runs 160 stores including 66 in the UK, said its earnings before tax lifted 19% to £25 million in the year to March 30, after opening stores at home and abroad.

The business, which was founded in 1993, opened 42 outlets last year including a new flagship store next to the Ritz hotel in central London.

Cath Kidston, which is 60% owned by US private equity group TA Associates after it bought its stake in 2010, opened 34 shops internationally over the last 12 months including a flagship store in Shanghai as well as franchises in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

In the UK the business opened eight stores in total, and relaunched its UK website.

Cath Kidston chief executive Kenny Wilson said: "This has been another year of strong growth, demonstrating the broad appeal of the Cath Kidston brand to consumers around the world."

He added that the business would continue to "push forward with our growth plans internationally."

The firm said its worldwide sales lifted 12% to £144 million.

The business, valued at around £250 million, has been looking for a buyer since last summer and has retained Swiss investment bank UBS to help it search for a suitor.

Rival US private equity group Warburg Pincus is reported to be in the running for the business, but the retailer will only confirm that it wants to continue its rapid expansion and is looking at all of its options.

Ms Kidston who founded her first store in 1993 in Holland Park, west London retains a 23% stake in the firm, valued at up to £57.5 million.

The firm's management owns the rest of the retailer, which is famous for its floral prints.

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