|Privately held company|
|Founder||Clemens and August Brenninkmeijer|
|Much of continental Europe|
|Lucas Brenninkmeijer (Chairman & CEO)
Knut Bruggemann (Executive)
Thorsten Rolfes (Executive)
|Revenue||US$8.1 billion (2010)|
Number of employees
|Parent||Cofra Holding AG|
C&A is an international Dutch chain of fashion retail clothing stores, with its European head offices in Vilvoorde, Belgium, and Düsseldorf, Germany. It has retail stores in many countries in Europe, Central America and South America. Its brands include Angelo Litrico, Canda, Clockhouse, Here+There, Palomino, Rodeo (ski and snowboard clothes), Westbury, Yessica, Yessica Pure, and Your Sixth Sense.
The company was founded by brothers Clemens and August Brenninkmeijer in 1841 as a Dutch textile company, taking its company name from their initials. In 1906 Clemen's son, Bernard Joseph, started discounting in Amsterdam (Rekenen in Centen, in plaats van Procenten) and by 1910 there were ten stores in the Netherlands. They were from the German Brenninkmeyer family which traded in linen and textiles since the 17th century from its hometown of Mettingen, Germany.
For many years, C&A retail clothing stores were a major presence on high streets throughout the United Kingdom. C&A also opened stores in a number of out-of-town locations, most notably its store at the Merry Hill Shopping Centre in the West Midlands, which opened in November 1989. The company's strategy of selling budget clothes from high-rent city-centre retail stores made it vulnerable to a new breed of competitors operating in cheaper, out-of-town locations, including Matalan and the rapidly expanding clothing operations of supermarket food chains such as Tesco and Asda, and to expanding high street names such as H&M, Zara, and Topshop.
C&A in the United Kingdom was a notable example of an incorporated private unlimited company, which meant that it was not required to publish its financial statements under United Kingdom company law. In 2000, C&A announced its intention to withdraw from the British market and the last UK retail stores closed in 2001. The company had operated in Britain since 1922. Primark bought 11 of the C&A stores. C&A faces similar problems in mainland Europe and has recently[when?] tried to reinvent itself by improving the quality, and hence the cost, of its clothing in an attempt to rid itself of its low-budget image. United Kingdom ska act The Specials referenced the store in "Man at C&A" on the 1980 album More Specials. The phrase "Man at C&A" was later used to typify someone who was "sartorially challenged". In an episode of the popular sitcom Only Fools and Horses Delboy tells his brother Rodney that when they become millionaires, their clothes will "come from Man at C&A".
In June 2009, the company withdrew from the Argentinian market. C&A China competes with main clothing companies such as H&M and Zara.
The Brenninkmeijer family, through its company Cofra Holding AG located in Switzerland, continues to own the C&A group and the company's success has led the family to become the wealthiest in the Netherlands. The Brenninkmeijer family, however, now live in Geneva and Zug Switzerland, benefiting from the taxation climate.
Number of C&A stores on 25 February 2016
- China 85
- Germany 486
- France 169
- Belgium 138
- Netherlands 133
- Austria 131
- Spain 109
- Switzerland 100
- Poland 74
- Czech Republic 41
- Hungary 38
- Portugal 35
- Romania 35
- Turkey 24
- Croatia 19
- Slovakia 15
- Serbia 14
- Slovenia 14
- Russia 11
- Italy 9
- Luxembourg 8
- "C&A – a success story". C&A. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
- "Company Details: C & A (company number 00524665)". United Kingdom Companies House webcheck. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
- "C&A quits UK". BBC News. 15 June 2000. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
- Cope, Nigel (16 June 2000). "C&A, a sad tale of the high-street store that went from Coats and 'Ats to Closure and Acrimony". The Independent. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
- "C&A closes UK doors for last time". BBC News. 31 May 2001. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
- "Man at C&A". slang-dictionary.com. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
- "Brenninkmeijers Still Netherlands' Richest Family". NIS News. 6 November 2003. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
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