Mothercare to close 110 stores

Mothercare today dealt a fresh blow to the UK high street as it unveiled plans to close 110 outlets and focus on out-of-town superstores.









Rents will be cut on a further 40 stores, the Watford-based group said, squeezing incomes for high street landlords even further. The new focus will be on out-of-town Parenting Centres, which contain its Early Learning Centre brand.



Most of the closures will be stores where the lease expires over the next two years. Mothercare has 120 of these, which will limit the cost to £5 million, it said.



Total store numbers in the UK will decline from 373 to 266, with 102 of these set to be out-of-town Parenting Centres.



The group, which warned about weak UK sales in March, said it expects big savings from the restructuring.



Its UK problems meant pre-tax profits fell from £32.5 million to £8.8 million in the year to March, despite another strong performance from its international business, where sales jumped by 16%.











Troubled music retailer HMV announced in January it would cut 60 stores from its UK network, while electrical retailers Comet and Dixons have also signalled their intention to cut outlets. Comet said last week it would close 10 stores while Dixons is said to want to cut its UK store numbers from 600 to 450.



Mothercare's announcement comes a day after retail guru Mary Portas launched a campaign to rejuvenate local shopping in Britain.



Town centre vacancy rates have doubled over the past two years, said Ms Portas, who will advise the Government on how to increase the number of small and independent retailers to tackle the problem of vacant shops.







Mothercare has already reduced its in-town estate by a quarter in the last three years as it benefits from a high level of lease expiries to close high street stores.



As well as reducing its exposure to the high street, Mothercare will invest in the remaining estate and has developed new store formats, one for Mothercare and one for the Early Learning Centre, which it will trial over the next few months.



"The formats provide an improved shopping environment, enhanced displays, signage and store layouts and better Early Learning Centre positioning in Mothercare stores," the company said.



Mothercare's revenues rose 4% to £794 million last year, with nearly three-quarters from overseas. UK sales fell 0.5% after a big year-end sale to clear out-of-date stock, though online revenues jumped by nearly 10%.



Chief executive Ben Gordon said he expects the UK retail environment to remain challenging, but plans to step up its international expansion, especially in Asia.



A further 150 overseas stores will open this year, generating 15% to 20% sales growth.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
News
Comedian Ted Robbins collapsed on stage during a performance of Phoenix Nights Live at Manchester Arena (Rex)
people
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links