Deathwatch: Mothercare slump with £82m loss

17 November 2011

retail deathwatch Mothercare was always the biggest of the players on the baby product market, but these days, it really is looking beleaguered as they slumped to a huge £82m half-year loss. As such, they've slashed its dividend and warned that trading is showing no sign of improvement

Alan Parker, the executive chairman, has announced a massive review of the company, saying: "We have to rejuvenate the whole brand and offering. The competition in the UK is more intense than overseas. We need to review the format and location of our outlets in Britain."

This all comes on the back of long-standing chief executive Ben Gordon being forced out of the company following a series of grim profit warnings. To underline how bad things are, the company reported a pre-tax loss of £82m in the 28 weeks to October 8. The same time last year, they were making a £300,000 profit.

They have already announced plans to close around 110 stores in the UK over two years.

Mothercare

Where Mothercare have been falling down is on items such as push chairs and car seats which would normally generate big sale. Mr Parker said that sale are down on big ticket items; "partly [because] we live in tough economic times, and partly that the price of these buggies have been pushed a bit high." Analysts would add that Mothercare aren't offering deals as good as those found in supermarkets and, perhaps more worryingly, specialist websites (coughMumsnetcough) are offering superior information to young parents.

Could this be the end for something of a British high street institution?

TOPICS:   High Street News

8 comments

  • Cheesey
    Mothercare have a head in the sand approach just like HMV. People have realised that Little Johnny/Joanna will grow out of items in a nanosecond or puke galore so spending big bucks on expensive items is a no-no. The supermarkets have also made inroads on baby goods. Why not pick up your baby stuff at the same time as your shopping with free parking? Or pay for parking in a town centre and wheel Little Brat in the cold/wind/rain to Mothercare? Ferk that. And what is the deal with having a Mothercare in a shopping centre and another store on the retail park surrounding the same shopping centre?
  • oliverreed
    @Cheesey you've called it in Supermarkets offer the same for much much less, the ELC toys are sometimes exclusive an innovative however the plastic they use feels really nasty, hardly Fisher Price league.
  • Kevin
    I think Ebay gave Mothercare a kicking years ago
  • tin
    Here's a handy tip for any retailer in the shit: Pulling the shutters down, thus making the store look shut, a full hour before you actually shut is NOT a good idea. People will think you are shut and won't go in. Just sayin.
  • Alexis
    Nice logo. If it was 1985.
  • samuri
    might have something to do with the free £500 from the gov. being changed to first child only plus there prices are way too high
  • Richard M.
    I think one issue worth looking at is the very name 'Mothercare' - it's not a modern sounding name and is almost sexist! Surely the brand name needs to be changed to encompass dads and other carers as well. 'Mothercare' just sounds like something from the 1950's. As to the news that the dividend is to be 'slashed' - surely they shouldn't be paying any dividend if they have lost so much money.
  • JonB
    Even amalgamating ELC into their stores couldn't save them - and there are few decent toy stores left on the high street.

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