Mothercare is set to sell or separate its 79 UK stores as part of the struggling retailer’s ongoing evolution towards an international franchising model.
The retailer for parents and young children is in conversations with prospective groups about the deal, according to Sky News, which could see its UK operations sold to a turnaround group or sold as franchises.
Mothercare is expected to give the full details of its plans to drastically alter its UK footprint tomorrow in a trading update before its annual general meeting.
The move comes as Mothercare struggles to cope with the tough high-street trading environment that has seen chains such as Bathstore and Toys R Us shuttered.
Last year Mothercare staved off collapse by shutting 55 stores, selling its well-known Early Learning Centre business for £13.5m and signing a deal with creditors.
Its shares have tumbled almost 80 per cent over the last five years to stand at around 20p today.
The retailer said in its May results that it was focused on “rebuilding Mothercare” by splitting up the company and focusing on franchising out its brand. It now has around 1,000 stores around the world.
Part of the rebrand created a UK franchise still run by the main Mothercare company, but which it is now looking to spin off.
Its focus will now turn to its newly-created “Mothercare Global Brand”, the primary job of which is to “design and then source the Mothercare branded product and distribute this product from factory to each franchise market”.