Jobs under threat as Mothercare set to close stores across the UK

Jobs under threat as Mothercare set to close stores across the UK

Mothercare has confirmed that it plans to close 50 stores as part of a rescue plan for the beleaguered babycare retailer.

The babycare chain has revealed it will shut 50 across the United Kingdom, as part of a rescue plan.

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.

Branding is seen outside a Mothercare store in Altricham, Britain, May 16, 2018.

The sub-£50mln company now has 137 stores up-and-down the United Kingdom but wants to have a portfolio of just 73 by 2022.

Mothercare Ireland was forced to close three shops in 2015 as financial troubles forced the company to go into examinership.

It employs about 3,000 staff across 137 outlets, including three locations in Kent at Bluewater, Canterbury and Maidstone.

The steady decline of Mothercare has seen the number of stores around the United Kingdom fall from 400 ten years ago, to just 137.

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Shares in Mothercare were up 4.8 pence at 26.6 pence at 0832 GMT, valuing the business at 46 million pounds.

The shake-up aimed at restoring the fortunes of the chain are likely to result in hundreds of job losses.

The group also said that Mark Newton-Jones, the former Littlewoods chief executive who departed from that role at Mothercare while under the stewardship of previous chairman Alan Parker in April, will return to his post.

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

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

Mothercare said in a statement: "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".

In addition to the proposed equity issue the firm has also secured revised committed debt facilities of 67.5 million pounds, 8 million pounds of new shareholder loans and a new debtor backed facility of up to 10 million pounds from a trade partner.

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