Mothercare to close 110 stores as profit tumbles

MOTHERCARE is to close over a quarter of its British stores as a collapse in UK profits eclipsed growth in overseas franchising.

The firm, which issued profit warnings in both January and March, said yesterday that it would shrink its in-town store estate within two years by taking advantage of 120 lease expiries.

It said about 110 stores would be closed, while 40 would benefit from rent reductions by March 2013.

Its plan would see it trading from about 266 UK stores by March 2013.

The company said underlying pre-tax profit fell 23.4 per cent to £28.5m in the year to 26 March.

The company’s worldwide network sales increased 7.1 per cent to £1.16bn. UK profit slumped 69 per cent to £11.1m, with sales at stores open over a year down four per cent.

Overseas profit rose 18.5 per cent to £27.5m as Mothercare opened 166 new stores.