Mothercare To Close Over 100 Stores In UK

Struggling retailer Mothercare has announced it will close a further 111 UK stores over the next three years.

It is believed the move will result in over 700 job losses, and will reduce the company's portfolio of outlets in Britain to 200.

The closures will mainly affect Early Learning Centre (ELC) stores - 75 of these will be shut down compared to 36 Mothercare branded shops.

Sales in the UK have dwindled, as the brand faces tough competition from supermarkets and online retailers.

The chain already shut down 62 shops in the last year and expects the store reduction programme to improve its UK profits by £13m by March 2015.

Mothercare will refocus its efforts on its operations overseas, where it continues to perform well.

Although UK sales fell 6.3% in the year ending March 31, retail sales abroad rose 16%.

It will also grow its online presence with the help its new chief executive Simon Calver, who used to run LoveFilm and is due to take up the post on April 30.

"Believe it or not this is a good thing," ESCP Europe Business School's marketing professor Jeremy Baker told Sky News.

He credited the firm's view to move into multi-channel sales and expand its brand overseas.

"Today marks the beginning of a three-year turnaround and I am confident we will deliver a sustained recovery and long-term success," executive chairman Alan Parker said.

Investors backed the chairman's confidence and despite a year of falling shares, Mothercare's stock rose following the announcement.