Friday, 25 May, 2018

Mothercare confirms 50 closures in rescue plan

A Mothercare store in Basingstoke Hampshire as it is announced the high street retailer is to close 50 stores and re-hire it's former chief executive Mark Newton Jones who was sacked just weeks ago Mothercare confirms 50 closures in rescue plan
Rita Gibson | 17 May, 2018, 15:52

The firm also said Mark Newton-Jones had agreed to return as chief executive following his abrupt departure just five weeks ago.

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

The plans came as the company reported a £72.8m pre-tax loss for the year to 24 March, compared to a £7.1m profit a year before - dragged into the red by costs such as restructuring, store closures and writedowns in the value of parts of the business.

Newton-Jones' replacement as CEO David Wood, a former Tesco (TSCO.L) executive, will become group managing director.

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.

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

Mothercare now trades from 137 United Kingdom stores but aims to reduce that to 78 by 2020, meaning a further nine stores would close beyond this initial programme.

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‎"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. Mothercare Ireland is a completely separate company and as a result our 15 Irish stores are unaffected by any plans in the proposal and will continue to trade as normal".

Today it announced a refinancing package worth up to £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".

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

Mothercare, which has been trading since 1961, said it was facing a "perilous financial condition" and had identified a large number of loss-making stores.

It comprises £28 million through an equity capital raising, an extension of its existing debt to £67.5 million, £18 million in shareholder and trade partner loans.

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