Kays Catalogues

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Kays of Worcester
Industry Mail order
Fate Merged with Littlewoods to become Shop Direct
Successor Shop Direct Group
Founded 1794
Defunct 2004
Key people
William Kilbourne Kay
Parent Great Universal Stores plc

Kay and Co Ltd was a mail-order catalogue business, with offices and warehouses throughout the United Kingdom. It was a very successful company, especially during the latter part of the 20th century.

The company had offices and warehouses in Worcester, Leeds, Glasgow, Newtown, Bradford, Bristol, Droitwich, Lancaster and York.[1]

The company often commissioned artwork for the front of its catalogues. For instance, in 1974 and 1979, two pictures of Worcester Cathedral were used. In fact, the cathedral at Worcester was used as the basis for the front cover from 1958 until 1982.

Kays Catalogues Distribution Centre on Marshall Street in Holbeck, Leeds, undergoing demolition.

The company was founded in Worcester in 1794. The company opened a purpose-built warehouse in Leeds in 1981 and this was closed in August 2004 (pictured). On 23 February 2007, Kays original depot in Worcester closed.

This was part of the work to amalgamate Kays and Littlewoods, calling it Shop Direct. Shop Direct is now centred on the traditional home of the Littlewoods group, Liverpool. The Kays brand continued to be used by Shop Direct until January 2011 when Kays, Empire Stores and Great Universal Stores merged to become K&Co.


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