Belfast Telegraph

Mothercare to close 111 shops in revamp plan

By Jamie Grierson

Struggling retailer Mothercare said it will close another 111 UK stores over the next three years in a move impacting 730 jobs.

The mothers-to-be, babies and children's group revealed plans to cut the number of stores in the UK from 311 to 200, which will include 36 Mothercare sites and 75 Early Learning Centres, following months of weak trade.

The company said it had no more information on the location of the stores to be shut but said they would shut over the next three years "depending on leases and other factors".

It has eight stores in Northern Ireland.

The announcement came as the group revealed a further deterioration in UK like-for-like sales, which fell 9.5% in the 12 weeks to March 31, compared with 3% in the previous quarter.

Alan Parker, executive chairman, said the changes will see the group transformed into a "lean, more competitive business".

He added: "Mothercare is a great global brand with strong international partners. Today marks the beginning of a three-year turnaround and I am confident we will deliver a sustained recovery and long-term success."

Mothercare said as part of its cost-reduction programme it would slash UK head office payroll costs by up to 16%, which will equate to 90 jobs.

The remaining 200 stores will be "profitable", the group said and will comprise 95 out-of-town sites and 105 high street locations, while the closures will improve UK profits by £13m by March 2015.

Mothercare has already closed 62 stores in the current financial year, three Mothercare outlets and 59 Early Learning Centres.

As part of the transformation strategy unveiled yesterday, Mothercare pledged to accelerate its international expansion.