Richard Jackson to Chair Kit and Kaboodal

Leading Yorkshire businessman Richard Jackson has been appointed chair of thriving online women’s clothing company Kit and Kaboodal. 

Richard, former joint MD of Leeds clothing legend Centaur and a Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, took the post at the beginning of the month to help family-owned Kit and Kaboodal realise its ambitious expansion plans.

Now in his 70th year, he said: “It’s nice to be involved with a young, thrusting and improving company, especially in a business sector that has a lot of history for me personally. 

“It’s also nice to be involved in the modern way of retailing online and I hope, given the continued growth of Kit and Kaboodal in the current economic climate, that my experience of expanding companies over the years will be valuable to them in assisting progression of the business.” 

Alongside his brother John, Richard grew family-owned Centaur Clothes throughout the 1970’s and 80’s, establishing their own shops and menswear concessions in department stores and acquiring the last three remaining Burton factories before selling to WM Baird in 1989.

He also built a small Yorkshire car dealership into £70m turnover Nidd Vale Motors and demerged three Mercedes dealerships which subsequently achieved sales of £30m before being sold in 2006  – all experience Kit and Kaboodal director John Marsden is keen to harness.

John said: “We have come on leaps and bounds since establishing our online presence eight years ago and are currently on target to achieve annual sales of more than £4m.

“The pandemic has forced us to become more efficient and we are fortunate to have continued to flourish during lockdown, but we recognise that in order to continue to grow and expand we now need the benefit of others’ experience and influence – Richard Jackson is a perfect fit and his appointment as chair is a real coup for us.”

Based in Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire, Kit and Kaboodal began by selling easy-to-wear linen clothing at county shows and soon realised it had tapped into a niche market for inclusive, stylish clothing for women of all ages and sizes.

Web sales soon overtook the shows and now the company operates solely online where it has created, amongst other things, a members’ club to reward regular customers and provide a platform for the growth of a fun and friendly Kit and Kaboodal community.

John said: “One of the biggest barriers to online shopping, especially for older customers, is that websites are generally pretty faceless. Of course our product has to be good in the first place, but we feel that the creation of our online community, along with our focus on personal customer service, has helped retain and build a loyal customer base through the current economic challenges.”

Richard Jackson, a former High Sheriff of West Yorkshire, was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire in 2003. He was awarded the MBE for his services to charitable causes including PHAB, St John Ambulance and Prince’s Trust. His other business interests include being non-executive chair of online insurance business Jigsaw Insurance plc.

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