Mothercare to hire Asda executive to run UK business

The maternity wear retailer Mothercare is set to hire a former Asda executive to run its UK business, a move designed to help management dedicate more attention to both its domestic and burgeoning international business.

Mike Logue - who joined Asda in 2007 as head of its Asda Living non-food format and then moved on to roles including the grocer’s commercial director for home and leisure - is on the verge of joining as UK director for Mothercare and Early Learning Centre, which the group acquired in 2007. It is unclear if he will get a seat on Mothercare’s main board.

The hiring of Mr Logue, who was also previously the managing director of the computer game specialist Gamestation (now part of Game Group), is likely to free up Mothercare’s chief executive Ben Gordon to focus more on the retailer’s group and international strategy. Mothercare’s UK sales have been dented by increasing competition from the supermarkets, such as Asda and Tesco, in recent years and Mr Logue's expertise should help the retailer.

Other chains with fast-growing international operations have moved recently to strengthen their UK team. The grocery giant Tesco established a UK board earlier this year to allow Philip Clarke, the supermarket’s new chief executive, to spend more time developing its global strategy. It is thought that Mr Logue left Asda a few weeks ago.

Sales growth at Mothercare’s overseas business have recently outstripped those in the UK, which is suffering a sharp slowdown in consumer spending. Mothercare – which opened 166 new stores overseas in 2010-11 – said it plans to open a further 150 this financial year, as its UK underlying sales fell by 2.4 per cent for the 12 weeks to 26 March. Two weeks ago, Ben Gordon, the chief executive of Mothercare, said: "The UK is an unsure and slightly nervous environment but international is booming."

An Asda spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that Mike Logue has left Asda to take on the role of UK director of Mothercare and ELC. Mike joined Asda in 2007 as MD of Asda Living and under his leadership we have successfully moved on our home and leisure offer. Mike has made a great contribution to Asda over the past three and a half years, and we wish him all the best for the future."

Mothercare declined to comment.