Boots strikes clothing deal with Mothercare
BOOTS, the British chemist chain, will start selling children's clothes in Ireland after signing a deal with Mothercare.
Boots, which has 55 shops in the Republic, has agreed to design, source and supply a new children's clothing and accessories brand to be sold here and in the UK.
In a joint statement yesterday, the two firms said the agreement builds on an existing deal where Boots sells Mothercare's Early Learning Centre toys in over 400 stores.
Ben Gordon, chief executive of Mothercare, said that the latest agreement represented a "substantial development" in the firm's recently announced strategy to target wholesale business.
Boots sells the Mini Mode kidswear brand, owned by Adams, in some stores. Adams went into administration in January and has yet to announce a buyer.
It is unclear whether the new brand to emerge from this partnership with Mothercare will replace Mini Mode.
Boots pharmacies provide employment to more than 1,400 people in Ireland, according to its website. The Irish arm of Boots posted a 23pc jump in operating profit to €23m in the 12 months to the end of March, while sales remained flat for the period at just over €262m.
The accounts, filed in December, blamed a decline in retail sales on the "fragile" state of the Irish economy, but noted "excellent growth" in its dispensing business.
The group's Ireland director, Rhys Iley, said a month earlier that Boots still planned to have 100 stores in Ireland within three years, despite the state of the economy, and that its plans were running 18 months behind schedule here. He added that the expansion would be via bolt-on acquisitions.
Boots' Irish store portfolio has grown from 36 to 55 over the past three years.