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Mothercare sheds stores in 'right-sizing' strategy

Mothercare has completed a ‘right-sizing’ process in the UK ahead of schedule, drastically reducing its store portfolio to cut costs and meet new strategic goals.

The retailer’s trading statement for the fourth quarter of the year to 30 March includes the sale of the Early Learning Centre brand to The Entertainer, for £13.5m. It also includes the closure of 40 stores over the last three months. The chain now has 80 stores, compared to 137 last year.

Like-for-like sales fell by 8.8 per cent during the quarter, an improvement on the previous six months.

“The UK store closure programme has been completed ahead of schedule and we now have 80 stores in operation, down from 137 stores a year ago. Whilst this has been a difficult but necessary process, to right-size the UK, it has meant that we have had to say goodbye to many loyal and longstanding colleagues. Their approach and professionalism have been outstanding right until the last day of operation for which we thank them sincerely,” says Mothercare chief executive officer Mark Newton-Jones.

“We enter the new financial year in a more robust position as a restructured business fit for the future and with reduced levels of debt. We have a significantly smaller UK store estate and our International operations remain cash generative. We look forward to the new financial year and to delivering the next phase of our strategic transformation plan."