Mothercare considers sale of Early Learning Centres
Mothercare is considering whether to put its chain of Early Learning Centre stores up for sale.
According to Sky News, the retailer has been in discussions with potential advisers although no firm decision has been taken on whether to press ahead with the sale.
In a trading statement issued last week, Mothercare said it had closed 13 loss-making UK stores in the first quarter of its financial year, including nine Early Learning Centres, as part of a three-year transformation plan.
Chief executive Simon Calver said: "The UK market has been very competitive during the last quarter and we have continued to focus on delivering cash margin.
"In line with our plan, we closed a further 13 loss-making stores (four Mothercare and nine Early Learning Centre) during the first quarter of the year.
"We now have 242 stores (192 Mothercare and 50 Early Learning Centre) in the UK. Space is down 7.7% year-on-year and is reflected in the 7.9% decline in total UK sales for the first quarter."
In the 15 weeks to 13 July 2013, Mothercare’s UK like-for-like sales dropped by 0.9% while total sales fell by 7.9%.
Mothercare is hoping that the imminent birth of the royal baby will provide a welcome boost for its UK business. The retailer is planning to launch a number of themed ranges in celebration of the event and will also transform its flagship Oxford Street store.
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