Mothercare’s new passage to India
Buggies to bibs retailer Mothercare is to enter the potentially lucrative Indian market where there are 110m toddlers.
Mothercare has signed a franchise agreement with Shopper-Stop to open 40 stores in India over the next five years. The first outlet will open in April 2006.
“The exciting thing about India is there are 110m kids under four and a burgeoning middle class who are quite aspirational,” said chief executive Ben Gordon. “India’s association with Britain means Mothercare is already a well-known brand.”
The specialist already has close to 250 overseas stores and the international arm accounts for more than 40 per cent of group operating profits.
Gordon has spearheaded the revival of the British chain and in the 13 weeks to 8 October like-for-like sales were down 0.3 per cent, compared with the 1.8 per cent decline posted in the first quarter. Total British sales, which include its internet business, were up 1.8 per cent over the period.
The retailer has revamped its clothing range for mums-to-be under the Moda brand, offering more fashionable maternity trousers, skirts and tops. Gordon said he was “very pleased with the results”. It aims to take a bigger bite of the Christmas spend by making stores look more “Christmassy” and rolling out products from a new Gift Service to its 232 stores.
Mothercare has refurbished 100 of its 160 high street stores, with those remaining earmarked for closure or relocation. Gordon said the emphasis was now on developing a new look for its out-of-town stores.