Mothercare store closures leaked, as Mark Newton-Jones rejoins the board

A list of the Mothercare stores set to close, in addition to 21 stores seeking rent reductions under its CVA, has been leaked as the struggling maternity and babywear specialist confirms the return of Mark Newton-Jones to its company board.

Following the announcement of its refinancing and restructuring of its UK store portfolio on Thursday morning under a proposed CVA, a list of UK Mothercare plc stores set to closed was published on Twitter by Scottish property consultancy Ditchfield Property. The list, which is said to have been leaked, indicates that Mothercare aims to close stores in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The list is divided into four regions, with the region one including Mothercare stores in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Yorkshire and the north of England. Mothercare stores in Inverness, Kirkcaldy, Fort Kinnaird as well as Bangor, North Shields, Doncaster, Bradford, and Harrogate. Region two, which includes stores in the North West and Wales, covered Mothercare stores in Rotherham, Crystal Peaks, Llandudno, Stockport, Macclesfield, Stafford, Denton, Blackburn and Bedford.

List of 50 Mothercare stores to close leaked

Region three, which covered stores in London, includes stores in Kings Lynn, Grafton Centre in Cambridge, Clacton Bexley Heath, Wandworth, Brixton, Sutton, Croydon, Colliers Wood, Eltham, Bromley, Maidstone, Brighton and Worthing. Lastly, region four is set to see Mothercare stores in Guildford, Aldershot, Portsmouth, Newbury, Reading, Salisbury, Newport, Yeovil, Exeter and Isle of Wight to shut.

The list of stores seeking a rent reduction includes Dundee, East Kilbridge, Newtownabbey and Huddersfield in region one and Altrincham, Meadowhall, Lincoln and Leicester in region two. Region three includes stores in Peterborough, Aylesbury, Brent Cross, Wood Green, White City, Kew, Kingston, Orpington and Eastbourne seeking a rent reduction and region four stores in Worcester, Bristol 384, Oxford and Slough.

Mothercare’s CVA proposal offers the struggling maternity and baby wear specialist hope that there is a way to turn its business around, but industry experts worry that its problems run deeper than its underperforming stores and too high leases. “Even if this CVA is approved the company’s future is not assured given greater issues in its business than an overambitious store estate: namely its inability to entice younger parents to its stores, something that value retailer, Primark, has been extremely successful at,” explained Zoe Mills, Retail Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company in a statement.

‘‘Mothercare is a household name in the babycare and baby equipment market, however, over the past few years, it has struggled to keep pace, losing market share to the grocers and the rising dominance of online players, with Amazon primarily, threatening its position. While Mothercare was slow to move online its website now drives almost half of its sales, it requires further investment, and this rather than stores, is where it plans to spend the bulk of the cash it hopes to raise. However, its remaining stores also need a lot of attention, and effort is needed to make them more engaging, creating a sense of community through classes and events among its shoppers to ensure loyalty and repeat purchases.”

The leaked list comes as Mothercare confirmed the reinstatement of former chief executive officer Mark Newton-Jones, who returns to the business as CEO five weeks after stepping down. David Wood is set to remain an executive director of the group and has been named group managing director. “The boardroom merry-go-round with Mark Newton-Jones returning having been removed only five weeks ago can only have been the result of some very divisive arguments at the top, and he will need to reassure investors and staff that all strategic issues have been resolved for Mothercare to have any chance of survival,” added Mills.