Thursday 20 June 2019

Mothercare UK losses widen on costs of restructuring plan

The retailer is set to focus on building its global brand.

Mothercare closed a swathe of shops last year (PA)
Mothercare closed a swathe of shops last year (PA)

By Alys Key, Press Association City Reporter

Losses at Mothercare UK have widened on the back of a drastic restructuring plan, but the company said it will now focus on rebuilding its brand.

Headline losses before tax came to £87.3 million for the 53 weeks to March 30, compared to £72.8 million this time last year.

Losses were deepened by the retailer’s store closure plan, which was agreed last year under a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).

Mothercare UK, which operates as a separate company to Mothercare Ireland, said the programme had been completed ahead of schedule, reducing its UK estate from 134 stores to 79.

Worldwide sales, which includes international franchise partners and wholesale, slipped 7.9% to just over £1 billion.

Chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said: “We have achieved a huge amount this year, refinancing, restructuring and reorganising Mothercare to ensure a sustainable future for the business.

“The majority of that work is now done, including the completion of our store closure programme, leaving us with 79 stores which are well positioned to support our UK customer base.”

Mothercare was one of a number of retailers launching CVAs last year in a bid to shrink their store footprint.

Carpetright and New Look also shuttered shops using the process.

The wave of restructuring proposals has continued into the new year, with Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia launching closure plans earlier this week.

But Mr Newton-Jones said the company had seen some “improving UK trends” as the company begins to rebuild its brand.

“The next phase of our strategic transformation plan is to develop Mothercare as a global brand, maximising the opportunities we see across many international markets,” he said.

“At the same time our primary focus in the UK will be the development of our online proposition, the introduction of enhanced credit options and more exclusivity in product, coupled with a reinforcement of our specialist and service credentials.”

The group also announced earlier this year that it had agreed to sell the Early Learning Centre to The Entertainer for up to £13.5 million, with the proceeds being used to reduce debt.

Mothercare Ireland is a separately owned and family run business that has been operating in Ireland for 26 years. The business was started by David Ward in 1992 and is now run by his two sons Jonathan and Ben and daughter Laura.

Commenting on the UK sales results Jonathan Ward, Managing Director of Mothercare Ireland said. ‘Mothercare Ireland is a completely separate company and as a result our stores are unaffected by any UK trading results and will continue to trade as normal.’

Mothercare Ireland is one of the original partners of the Mothercare International Group and is currently the fifth largest partner in the world.

Press Association

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