Mothercare UK administration plan threatens Stevenage jobs
PUBLISHED: 12:06 04 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:06 04 November 2019
Mothercare is to appoint administrators for its UK division, putting 2,500 jobs at risk just before Christmas.
Mothercare - which has a store on Monkswood Retail Park in Stevenage - is filing Notices of Intent to appoint administrators with the court later today.
The company cannot confirm how many jobs will be affected at the Stevenage store, but said it is an average of 16 per shop.
Mothercare said that, in the financial year to March 2019, its international business generated profits of £28.3 million, whereas the UK retail operations lost £36.3m.
A spokesman said: "It has become clear the UK retail operations of the group, which today includes 79 stores, are not capable of returning to a level of structural profitability that are sustainable for the group, or attractive enough for a third party partner to operate on an arm's length basis."
It said the company as a whole is "unable to continue to satisfy the ongoing cash needs of Mothercare UK".
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The children's retailer has already gone through a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), which allowed it to shut 55 shops.
It has been looking for a buyer for the UK stores, but with no success so far.
The administration move comes as ailing high street retailers struggle to compete with the growth of online shopping, and the rising costs of rents and business rates, with Thomas Cook, Jack Wills and Bonmarche among the big brands to collapse this year.
Mothercare has emphasised the listed group remains profitable despite the problems facing its UK division. The company operates over 1,000 stores in more than 40 overseas territories, and these are not subject to administration.
The spokesman said: "The company's primary objective has been to seek to preserve value for as many stakeholders as possible, as we strive to optimise the level of sustainable long-term revenues for the group."
A further announcement is expected within the next 48 hours, once administrators have taken control of the UK stores - which will continue to trade until the stock has been cleared.
"These Notices of Intent to appoint administrators are a necessary step in the restructuring and refinancing of the group," said the spokesman. "Plans are being finalised for execution imminently."