Mothercare to shut 50 shops and restore CEO Mark Newton-Jones

Mothercare says 50 of its stores are to close

Mothercare has confirmed it is closing 50 stores 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. The potential for the Mothercare brand in the United Kingdom, benefitting from a restructured store estate, and internationally remains significant.

And after today's news, the chain will operate just 73 stores by 2022.

Mothercare employs about 3,000 people across 137 outlets in the United Kingdom, including branches in Telford, Walsall, Stafford and at Merry Hill shopping centre. A year ago it recorded a small operating profit after savings made from the closures of its Blackrock and Jervis Street stores in Dublin and the Cruises Street shop in Limerick.

The struggling retailer is also re-employing Mark Newton-Jones as chief executive, just a month after he left the firm. Its shares have lost 83 per cent of their value over the past year.

‎"The recent financial performance of the business, impacted in particular by a large number of legacy loss-making stores within the United Kingdom estate, has resulted in an unsustainable situation for the Mothercare brand, meaning the group was in clear need of an appropriate resolution".

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It is not clear which Mothercare stores are under threat from its restructure plans, which includes a refinancing package worth £113.5 million.

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

That won't be the only measure Mothercare wants to introduce; it also wants landlords of 21 other sites to agree to "material" rent reductions in a bid to dramatically cut its cost base.

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

Mr Newton-Jones will oversee the firm's £28 million survival plan with Mothercare also revising committed debt facilities of £67.5million, £8m of new shareholder loans and a new debtor backed facility of up to £10m from a trade partner.

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