Belfast Telegraph

Mothercare chief executive leaves as former Tesco man parachuted in

Mark Newton-Jones is stepping down from the firm.

Embattled retailer Mothercare has parted company with its chief executive as it continues to hold emergency discussions with lenders over its future.

The group said current boss Mark Newton-Jones is stepping down from the firm with immediate effect, with former Tesco man David Wood taking up the reins with immediate effect.

Mr Wood joins Mothercare from US grocery and pharmaceuticals giant Kmart, where he served as group president. Previously, he has held a number of senior commercial, marketing and general management positions at Tesco.

It is understood that the board had come to the view that Mr Newton-Jones’s transformation strategy was taking too long to bear fruit.

The appointment of Mr Woods comes at a difficult time for the baby retailer, which recently appointed KPMG to advise on a refinancing of the firm.

The group called in the accountancy giant to help it secure waivers to its financial covenants as it looks at additional sources of financing from its lenders HSBC and Barclays.

The group has been hammered on the stock market after warning over profits twice since the start of the year and revealing that talks with its banks were under way.

Mr Woods said: “I am delighted to be leading Mothercare, a business with a fantastic heritage and an exciting future both in the UK and internationally.

“My immediate focus is to ensure Mothercare is put back on a sound financial footing and deliver a successful plan to improve performance.

“Central to this will be our customers and their experience, securing Mothercare’s reputation as the number one choice for parents.”

Retailers across the board have been battered by weak consumer confidence off the back of soaring Brexit-fuelled inflation.

They have also had to contend with surging wage costs and eye-watering business rate hikes.

Mothercare chairman Alan Parker said: “We have made positive progress but it is essential that we have the most effective leadership in place to meet our ambitions for our customers and our shareholders.

“David has a great track record in similar circumstances across international and consumer-facing brands and is a highly effective operator of retail operations.”

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