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Company typeSubsidiary
B3CEAB3 (only the unit in Brazil, C&A Modas SA)[1]
Founded1841; 183 years ago (1841)
(in Sneek, Netherlands)
FoundersClemens and August Brenninkmeijer
HeadquartersVilvoorde, Belgium
Düsseldorf, Germany
Number of locations
1290 (2022)[2]
Area served
Much of Continental Europe, Brazil, plus China and Mexico via licenses
Key people
Giny Boer, CEO of C&A Europe
ProductsApparel/footwear specialty
Number of employees
ParentCOFRA Holding AG
C&A store in Sneek, Netherlands
C&A store in Berlin, with the Swissôtel Berlin on the upper floors
C&A Barcelona, Pelai 54, Can Damians Bldg.(ca, es)

C&A is a multinational chain of retail clothing stores that originated in the Netherlands. It now has European head offices in Vilvoorde, Belgium, and Düsseldorf, Germany. The company operates approximately 1,300 stores in Europe and approximately 300 stores in Brazil, as well as websites for online shopping. It also licenses the C&A name for stores in Mexico and China, which are under different ownership.[3] C&A's brands include Angelo Litrico, Avanti, Clockhouse, Here+There, Palomino, Rodeo (ski and snowboard clothes), Westbury, Yessica, Yessica Pure, and Your Sixth Sense.

The company name is derived from the initials of its founders, Clemens (1818–1902) and August (1819–1892) Brenninkmeijer. The Brenninkmeijer family owns C&A through a Swiss firm named COFRA Holding AG. The company's success has led the Brenninkmeijer family to be ranked among the wealthiest in the Netherlands, but most members of the family actually live in Geneva and Zug, Switzerland.[4]


The Brenninkmeyer family had traded in linen and textiles since the 17th century from Mettingen, Germany. In 1841, a Dutch textile firm was founded in Sneek by brothers Clemens and August Brenninkmeijer, later taking its company name from the initials of the founders. The family was very secretive, in part to avoid customs scrutiny, and upon reaching age 14, male members of the family were given the choice of working for C&A or joining the Catholic priesthood. In 1906, Clemens' son, Bernard Joseph, started operating in Amsterdam. By 1910, there were ten C&A stores in the Netherlands.[5]

In 1974, C&A was one of the sponsors of the 1974 FIFA World Cup. In 1978, C&A sponsored cycling through Eddy Merckx's team, taking over from Fiat France.

In 2000, due to competition from Tesco and Asda, as well as from expanding high street names such as H&M, Zara and Topshop, C&A announced its withdrawal from the British market, where it had been operating since 1922, had 109 stores,[6][7] and had used the name C&A Modes.[8][9][10][11][12][13] The last UK retail stores closed in 2001.[14][15] Primark bought six C&A stores.[16]

In June 2009, C&A withdrew from the Argentinian market.[17]

In the summer of 2010, Beyoncé released a clothing line, House of Deréon, in cooperation with C&A.[18]

In May and June 2017, the company closed four stores in the Netherlands due to poor sales.[19]

In February 2020, Grupo Axo agreed to buy C&A Mexico,[20] but cancelled the contract in March 2021. In June 2023 C&A Mexico was sold to Grupo Alfra, owner of the Mexican Cuidado con el Perro stores.[21]

On 20 August 2020, C&A sold C&A China to Zhongke Tongrong Private Equity to operate the stores via franchising.[22]

In 2021 and 2022, the company closed 70 stores and stated the goal of having half of its sales come from online channels by 2026.[23]

In March 2022, the company shut its Canda brand, which produced formalwear, due to the decline in sales as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.[24][25]

In June 2022, C&A began selling clothing via Amazon.[26][27]

In July 2022, it was discovered that C&A's Serbian division was the victim of customs fraud on the import of goods from China. The unpaid duties led to the Serbian division filing bankruptcy and closing its 14 stores.[28][29]


In December 2021, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights filed a criminal complaint in a Dutch court against C&A and other brands, including Lidl and Hugo Boss, alleging that they benefited from and were complicit in the use of forced labour by Uyghurs in Xinjiang.[30]

In popular culture[edit]

The Specials referenced C&A 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 unfashionable.[7][31][32]

In an episode of the sitcom Only Fools and Horses, Del Boy tells his brother Rodney that when they become millionaires, their clothes will "come from Man at C&A".[32]

The Belle and Sebastian song "Expectations" features a character who is given the choice between working at Debenhams and C&A "cause that's what they expect".[33]


C&A has stores in the following countries. Figures are for June 2023[34] except China (May 2023) and Brazil (December 2023).

Country No.
As of
Austria 93 June 2023 [34]
Belgium 97   June 2023 [34]
Brazil 330+ Dec. 2023 [35]
China 23 May 2023 [36]
Croatia 23   June 2023 [34]
Czechia 40 June 2023 [34]
France 164   June 2023 [34]
Germany 403   June 2023 [34]
Hungary 34 June 2023 [34]
Iraq 1 June 2023 [34]
Italy 10 June 2023 [34]
Luxembourg 7   June 2023 [34]
Mexico 78 June 2023 [37]
Netherlands 97   June 2023 [34]
Poland 51   June 2023 [34]
Portugal 27   June 2023 [34]
Romania 50   June 2023 [34]
Slovakia 15   June 2023 [34]
Slovenia 14   June 2023 [34]
Spain 81 June 2023 [34]
Switzerland 89 June 2023 [34]
Total ca. 1727+


  1. ^ "Dutch fashion retailer C&A, shareholders to raise about $445 million in Brazil IPO". Reuters. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  2. ^ "C&A sluit in jaar tijd bijna 70 winkels". RetailTrends (in Dutch). 14 October 2022.
  3. ^ "Stores". c-and-a.com.
  4. ^ Loeb, Walter (18 July 2016). "Highly Secretive C&A Brenninkmeijer Is A Global Powerhouse In Fashion Retailing". Forbes.
  5. ^ "C&A – a success story". C&A. Archived from the original on 4 March 2011.
  6. ^ "C&A closes down UK stores". The Guardian. 15 June 2000.
  7. ^ a b 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.
  8. ^ C&A Modes Part I: Getting Established buildingourpast.com, 3 January 2016. Retrieved 19 December 2023
  9. ^ Remember C&A? The fashion giant known for low prices that was a town centre staple TeessideLive, 24 October 2022. Retrieved 19 December 2023
  10. ^ The C&A UK Marketing Archive: ‘Where the mode of the moment costs less than elsewhere’ www.hatads.org.uk. Retrieved 19 December 2023
  11. ^ Lost fashion giant 'famous' for low prices where 'everyone used to go' Liverpool Echo, 23 October 2022. Retrieved 19 December 2023
  12. ^ Lost Edinburgh: C&A Modes Fire The Scotsman, 23 April 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2023
  13. ^ Case: Moore v C&A Modes [1981] IRLR 71 lawjournals.co.uk, May 2022. Retrieved 19 December 2023
  14. ^ Finch, Julia (1 June 2001). "Thread bare C&A closes its last British stores". The Guardian.
  15. ^ "C&A quits UK". BBC News. 15 June 2000.
  16. ^ Marriott, Hannah. "How Primark put brand in fashion". PR Week.
  17. ^ "C&A Pulls out of Argentina". LatinFinance. 30 June 2009.
  18. ^ "Beyonce models her own Dereon clothing range for C&A". Daily Mirror. 28 May 2010.
  19. ^ "C&A set to close four Dutch stores because of poor sales". Dutch News. 27 October 2016.
  20. ^ "C&A Mexico is sold to rival Grupo Axo". Fashion Network. 20 February 2020.
  21. ^ Celis, Fernanda (15 June 2023). "Cuidado con el Perro adquiere C&A México, tras desistimiento de Axo" [Cuidado con el Perro acquires C&A Mexico, after Axo pulls out]. www.axisnegocios.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 21 December 2023.
  22. ^ "C&A AG sells its China operations to Zhongke Tongrong Private Equity". c-and-a.com (Press release). 20 August 2020.
  23. ^ Van Rompaey, Stefan (7 November 2022). "Why C&A has to slim down". Retail Detail.
  24. ^ Husband, Laura (22 March 2022). "C&A's Canda International unit to close as formalwear popularity wanes". Just Style.
  25. ^ Mira, Nicola (23 March 2022). "C&A closes down formal wear subsidiary Canda International". Fashion Network.
  26. ^ Van Rompaey, Stefan (30 June 2022). "C&A launches on Amazon Fashion". Retail Detail.
  27. ^ Forrest, Fi (30 June 2022). "C&A launches online offering with Amazon Fashion". Just Style.
  28. ^ Neerman, Pauline (15 July 2022). "C&A in Serbia bankrupt due to large-scale customs fraud". Retail Detail.
  29. ^ Bjelotomic, Snezana (8 July 2022). "What will happen to C&A workers in Serbia?". Serbian Monitor.
  30. ^ Adegeest, Don-Alvin (6 December 2021). "Nike, Patagonia named in European lawsuit as being complicit in 'forced labour' practices in Xinjiang, China". FashionUnited.
  31. ^ "C&A closes UK doors for last time". BBC News. 31 May 2001.
  32. ^ a b Doyle, Dave (23 June 2022). "Here's what happened to the much-loved Bournemouth C&A store". Reach plc.
  33. ^ "EXPECTATIONS". Belle and Sebastian.
  34. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "C&A". ChainXY. Retrieved 19 December 2023..
  35. ^ "Nossa história" [Our History]. C&A Brazil (in Brazilian Portuguese). Retrieved 21 December 2023. Atualmente, operamos com mais de 330 lojas em todo o território nacional
  36. ^ Team, Dao (25 May 2023). "C&A gears up to reclaim presence in Beijing with new store". Dao Insights. Retrieved 21 December 2023.
  37. ^ "Press release: Grupo Alfar to acquire C&A Mexico and support growth strategy" (PDF). COFRA Holding. 15 June 2023. Retrieved 21 December 2023.

External links[edit]