Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Sports | By Jonathan Ford

Mothercare to close 50 stores putting Kent jobs at risk

Mothercare to close 50 stores putting Kent jobs at risk

Britain's Mothercare (MTC.L), the struggling mother and baby products retailer, said it would close over a third of its stores as part of a survival plan that also sees the return of the chief executive who abruptly departed just five weeks ago.

Mothercare will re-hire its former boss in a shocking U-turn as the company plans to shutter 50 stores.

Family-run business Mothercare Ireland may have the same name but it is a wholly separate entity and the Ward family - who acquired the company in 1992 - have been quick to clarify reports in the Irish press linking the two.

Putting media speculations to rest, Mothercare has confirmed measures to refinance its business and restructuring of its United Kingdom store portfolio.

The company further added that the United Kingdom restructuring plan will involve an accelerated reduction of the United Kingdom store estate to reduce losses and rent liabilities and will be effected through the CVA Proposals.

Mothercare employs about 3,000 people across 137 outlets.

Since January, Toys R Us and Maplin have filed for administration while fashion retailers such as New Look and Select have embarked on radical store closure programmes. Its shares have lost 83 per cent of their value over the past year.

The company announced this morning it also plans to seek rent reductions on 21 of its stores as it tries to secure "a viable and sustainable future".

In a statement, Mothercare said: "Recent financial performance, impacted in particular by a large number of legacy loss making stores within the United Kingdom estate, has resulted in a perilous financial condition for the group".

As part of the restructuring, Mothercare has also arranged a refinancing package worth up to £113.5m.

Mothercare chairman Clive Whiley said: "These measures provide a solid platform from which to reposition the group and begin to focus on growth, both in the United Kingdom and internationally".

'These comprehensive measures provide a renewed and stable financial structure for the business and will drive a step change in Mothercare's transformation.

The CVA will go to a creditors' vote on 1 June.

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