Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland Mothercare stores to close with loss of 40 jobs

On Monday, Mothercare announced plans to put its UK retail business into administration (Joe Giddens/PA)
On Monday, Mothercare announced plans to put its UK retail business into administration (Joe Giddens/PA)
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Two Mothercare stores in Northern Ireland are to close with the loss of around 40 jobs after the company announced it had appointed administrators to its UK business.

The company announced on Monday it had appointed administrators Zelf Hussain, Toby Banfield and David Baxendale of business advisors PwC to its UK business.

The baby goods retailer employs around 40 people here in two stores, one in Sprucefield Shopping Centre outside Lisburn and in Damolly Retail Park in Newry. 

The company said that the Mothercare brand had generated profits of £28.3m internationally whereas the UK retail operations lost £36.3m in the year ending March 2019. 

It has a total of 79 stores in the UK, with 2,500 staff.

The company said it had carried out a major review of its operations, including the UK business but that it was clear that the shops were not capable of returning to profitability.

"Furthermore, the company is unable to continue to satisfy the ongoing cash needs of Mothercare UK," it said.

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Clive Whiley, chairman of Mothercare said: “It is with deep regret and sadness that we have been unable to avoid the administration of Mothercare UK and Mothercare Business Services, and we fully understand the significant impact on those UK colleagues and business partners who are affected. However, the board concluded that the administration processes serve the wider interests of ensuring a sustainable future for the company, including the wider group’s global colleagues, its pension fund, lenders and other stakeholders.

“The UK high street is facing a near existential problem with intensifying and compounding pressures across numerous fronts, most notably the high levels of rent and rates and the continuing shifts in consumer behaviour from high street to online.

“Mothercare UK is far from immune to these headwinds despite the strength of the Mothercare brand, its exclusive and quality product range and recognised customer service.”

He said that the administration was necessary in order to ensure the survival of the wider group. 

“We know it is right for the wider group to ensure that Mothercare remains the leading global brand for parents and young children with a bright and solvent future within the international franchise business.”

The administrators will handle the store closures.

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