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Kathmandu (company)

Kathmandu (company)
Company nameKathmandu
Founded1987 in Melbourne, Australia and Christchurch, New Zealand

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Kathmandu Holdings Limited is a transnational chain of retail stores, selling outdoor clothing and equipment.

The company was founded by John Pawson and Jan Cameron in 1987 following their sale of the ALP Sports Clothing label. The company set up its first retail outlets in Australia whilst manufacturing most of its original clothing range in New Zealand. Bernard Wicht, owner of Alpine Accoutrements, had been the main manufacturer for ALP Sports but continued to manufacture for Kathmandu and also partnered with Penny Hazard to set up the Bivouac chain of stores in New Zealand. In 1992 Kathmandu, having established a strong operation in Australia (with stores in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra) re-entered the New Zealand retail marketplace, purchasing Alps Sports from its receivers and brought Bernard Wicht in as the third shareholder joining the two existing shareholders John Pawson and Jan Cameron. Kathmandu currently has 97 stores; 36 in New Zealand, 55 in Australia and 6 in the United Kingdom. The company was in 2006 fully acquired by an Australasian private equity company for NZ$275 million, after the reclusive founder had previously sold the other half of her business. Bernard is currently the owner of both the Fairydown and Macpac brands.

Kathmandu was listed on the Australian and New Zealand stock exchanges in November, 2009. The company headquarters were damaged during the major February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, and as a result company operations were temporarily headed from the Melbourne office.

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