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Its origins date back to the 18th century when brothers Clemens and August Brenninkmeijer opened a textile store in the Netherlands. Their first British shop opened in Manchester in 1885. Fashion-forward designs and quality materials quickly earned the company a reputation for affordability and quality.
By 1909, the company operated more than 40 stores across seven countries in Europe. As of the 1930s, C&A had over 200 stores in ten countries, making it one of the largest department stores in Europe.
Clothing from C&A became popular among royalty and celebrities during the 1940s and 1950s, who wore its clothes to red-carpet events. Colourful prints and bold designs made C&A one of the leading fashion retailers in the 1960s and 1970s.


Starting with humble beginnings, C&A's success was furthered when it expanded across Europe in the 1950s, opening stores in the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, and Austria. During the 1970s, the company had grown and opened stores in the UK, Sweden, Italy, and Spain.

Today, C&A still keeps growing and adding new stores in Europe, with 1,500 in 16 different countries, including Poland, Portugal, Hungary, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic. As well as new store formats like their flagship store in Amsterdam with a play area for children, the company is also introducing new stores called C&A Playgrounds in the UK and Germany.

Over the past decades, C&A has emerged as one of Europe's leading clothing retailers, known for its affordable fashions. C&A's long-standing dedication to affordable, quality apparel has helped maintain its popularity across Europe. Not only do they sell their clothes, but C&A has partnered with several different, globally renowned clothing brands to make exclusive collections for their customers.