Mothercare boss to return in shock U-turn as retailer plans store closures


Mothercare is set to reappoint the chief executive who left in April after poor Christmas trading and a profits warning, reports suggest.

The baby chain, which will lay out details of the overhaul in its results on Thursday, ditched Mr Newton-Jones as chief executive last month, with then-chairman Alan Parker having said although he had "done a good job, we think we can do even better going forward".

The man that had been brought in to replace him, David Wood, will now become managing director.

The axe is hanging over Mothercare stores in Portsmouth and Havant after the firm announced 50 stores across the country will close.

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

The potential for the Mothercare brand in the United Kingdom, benefitting from a restructured store estate, and internationally remains significant.

Under the store estate restructuring plan, the company plans to close 50 stores and seek rent reductions on a further 21 stores.

That typically sees retailers closing stores and renegotiating rents, in return for a fresh injection of finance.

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Earlier this year, toy store chain Toys R Us collapsed into administration, as did electronics retailer Maplin.

The new plan would see it trade from 78 United Kingdom stores by 2020.

The CVA is expected to be implemented by July 2018, with creditor meetings to be held in June.

'These measures provide a solid platform from which to reposition the group and begin to focus on growth, both in the United Kingdom and internationally'.

They have also had to contend with surging wage costs and eye-watering business rate hikes.

"These comprehensive proposals to create a fully refinanced, restructured business will allow an accelerated transformation of the business and are a crucial part of Mothercare's drive to a viable and sustainable future".

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.