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Mothercare to close 111 more stores putting 730 jobs at risk
10:16am Thursday 12th April 2012 in Hampshire Business
Struggling retailer Mothercare, which has a flagship outlet in Southampton, said today will close 111 UK stores over the next three years putting 730 jobs at risk.
The mothers-to-be, babies and children's group revealed plans to cut the number of stores in the UK from 311 to 200, which will include 36 Mothercare sites and 75 Early Learning Centres, following months of weak trade.
Mothercare has Hampshire stores at WestQuay Retail Park in Southampton as well as Basingstoke, Farnborough, Aldershot and Newport on the Isle of Wight.
The announcement came as the group revealed a further deterioration in UK like-for-like sales, which fell 9.5 per cent in the 12 weeks to March 31, compared with 3 per cent in the previous quarter.
Mothercare said as part of its cost-reduction programme it would slash UK head office payroll costs by up to 16 per cent, which will equate to around 90 roles.
The remaining 200 stores will be ''profitable'', the group said, and will comprise 95 out-of-town sites and 105 high street locations, while the closures will improve UK profits by £13 million by March 2015.
Mothercare has already closed 62 stores in the current financial year, three Mothercare outlets and 59 Early Learning Centres.
While the group has suffered at home, it is being propped up by a strong performance overseas, where it has 1,000 stores, with international sales growing 18 per cent in the fourth quarter. Mothercare pledged to accelerate its international expansion.