Orla Kiely closes retail and online businesses

Irish designer’s retail stores in Kildare Village and London shut down

Irish designer Orla Kiely. There was no immediate explanation for the closure. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Irish designer Orla Kiely. There was no immediate explanation for the closure. Photograph: Cyril Byrne


The Irish designer Orla Kiely, famous for the use of her trademark prints on handbags and household merchandise, has announced the closure of her retail and online business.

The surprise move was announced on her website, declaring a cessation in trading as of September 17th.

Ms Kiely first came to prominence for her colourful prints on handbags before later applying them to everything from biscuit tins to ceramics.

The note on her website simply reports that Kiely Rowan Plc, the “retail and wholesale fashion business of Orla Kiely” had stopped trading.

A statement subseqently released to The Irish Times said: “Having carefully considered the options, the directors of Kiely Rowan Plc have concluded that the business should enter voluntary liquidation following various challenges that have faced the company over the past few years, both in the UK and abroad.”

David Ruben & Partners have been appointed as administrators to handle the winding down of the business.

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It means the closure of two retail stores, in the Kildare Village shopping outlet and in London, and of her online business.

Selection of accessories

“Orla Kiely’s Home and Design licensing business will not be affected, and its selection of accessories and homewares will continue to be sold through its distribution partners,” the statement said.

Ms Kiely’s products have long been a feature of both the Kilkenny home stores and of Arnotts department store in Dublin.

Company files show that Ms Kiely’s Kildare branch was only established last October and had not yet filed any accounts.

Operating profit

The latest available accounts for her UK business, filed in March, 2017, show the company had an operating profit of £322,551 (€363,367), up from £233,314 (€262,844) the previous year. Over the same period, turnover had increased from £7.2 million (€8.1 million) to £8.3 million (€9.3 million).

Ms Kiely’s work has been celebrated in Ireland and is a favourite of British royal Kate Middleton who has been photographed in her dresses on a number of occasions.

Last June the London Fashion and Textile Museum launched a major retrospective of her work which continues this month.

It described her as “one of the UK and Ireland’s most successful designers” with patterns that are “innovative, influential and instantly recognisable”.