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Ex M&S director Karl Doyle joins Mothercare

Former Marks & Spencer director of kidswear Karl Doyle has taken a new role at Mothercare, as the business looks to turn its fortunes around.

Doyle, who most recently was executive group product director at Shop Direct, is thought to be joining Mothercare as global group merchandising director in early June.

The role is thought to be new to the business, incorporating both buying and merchandising responsibilities. Mothercare declined to comment and Doyle could not be reached.

Doyle was at Shop Direct for just eight months but has a long track record in kidswear, having headed the division at M&S for three years.

He joins as Mothercare revealed a 2.6% drop in total group sales to £724.9m for the year to March 29, while underlying pre-tax profit jumped 61% from £5.9m to £9.5m. In the UK arm of the business underlying losses narrowed slightly, posting a 0.5% improvement on the prior year to £21.5m.

Doyle is the second big hitter to be drafted into the beleaguered business. Mark Newton-Jones, also formerly of Shop Direct, joined as interim chief executive in March, taking over from Simon Calver. It is now expected he will take on the reins permanently if his plan for a turnaround of the business is accepted by the board and investors.

Doyle joins as Mothercare begins a turnaround of the business, which will include putting more emphasis on its fashion credentials.

The retailer has already converted one Early Learning Centre and three Mothercare units to clothing-focused stores, which are expected to help improve profit margins.

Tthe company has also negotiated a £10m extension to its £90m debt facility with HSBC and Barclays.





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