Mothercare to close 50 stores with the loss of hundreds of jobs
Struggling Mothercare is to close 50 underperforming stores as part of a major restructure.
The company, founded in 1961, is also re-hiring the chief executive it sacked just weeks ago as part of the wide-ranging shake-up.
The closures, which will result in hundreds of job losses, will be carried out through a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) - a move which allows companies to close loss-making shops and secure rental discounts.
The stores have not been revealed as bosses want to let the staff affected know first.
The Mothercare store in Cardiff's St David's Centre closed at the beginning of 2017 in what was then described as "part of a larger transformation plan for our business to reconfigure our store estate and provide a truly omnichannel shopping experience for our customers".
Mothercare currently employs about 3,000 people ac ross 137 outlets.
In a move that will stun many observers, Mark Newton Jones, who was given the elbow as chief executive last month, will return to the fold and once again take the top job.
The man that had been brought in to replace him, David Wood, will now become managing director.
As part of the restructuring, Mothercare also announced a refinancing package worth up to Â£113.5 million.
It comprises Â£28 million through an equity capital raising, an extension of its existing debt to Â£67.5 million, Â£18 million in shareholder and trade partner loans.
Chairman Clive Whiley said: "The recent financial performance of the business, impacted in particular by a large number of legacy loss-making stores within the UK estate, has resulted in an unsustainable situation for the Mothercare brand, meaning the group was in clear need of an appropriate resolution.
"These com prehensive measures provide a renewed and stable financial structure for the business and will drive a step change in Mothercare's transformation.
"These measures provide a solid platform from which to reposition the group and begin to focus on growth, both in the UK and internationally."
The baby chain is the latest in a long list of casualties on the high street.
Retailers across the board have been battered by weak consumer confidence off the back of soaring Brexit-fuelled inflation.
They have also had to contend with surging wage costs and eye-watering business rate hikes.
Earlier this year, and on the same day, Toys R Us and Maplins both went into administration.
Then Bargain Booze was saved when food wholesaler Bestway has acquired the retail arm of beleaguered Conviviality in a Â£7 million deal.Source: Google News