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Exclusive: Redundancies at Mothercare amid restructuring

Mothercare is planning to make up to 200 roles redundant at its UK head office as the retailer restructures to become “more specialist and robust”, Drapers can exclusively reveal.

The mother and baby chain has entered into a consultation process with staff as it plans to reduce its central cost base across its head office, sourcing and its national distribution centre.

A spokesman for Mothercare said the consultation is in line with the retailer’s “next phase of business transformation”, which willi involve a greater focus on its core markets of maternity, newborn, baby and toddler, and move away from product areas such as clothing and toys for older children in the UK.

He added: “The objective here is to make the Mothercare business more specialist, more simple, more robust and more exportable to its international markets. Inevitably, for some teams and individuals, simplifying and focusing the business means that we will be stopping the activity that they currently undertake.

“The situation is being managed sensitively with all colleagues and we have formed an employee consultative forum consisting of elected representatives from across the business. We are consulting with this group on the proposals, to consider ways of reducing redundancies and mitigating the consequences.”

Mothercare said the restructuring was separate to its store-reduction programme, which is ongoing as it takes the store estate down to between 80 and 100 shops.

Mothercare had 5,211 employees worldwide as at March 2017.

Mothercare’s turnaround process is in its third year. In its most recent full-year accounts, for the 12 months to 25 March 2017, total sales were up by 6.3% to £1.2bn, while underlying profits were up by 1% to £19.7m. UK like-for-like sales were up by 1.1%, while the UK reduced losses by 31% to £35.2m.

Mothercare is the latest retailer to restructure amid tough trading on the high street and changing customer expectations.

As exclusively revealed by Drapers earlier this week Arcadia Group is also proposing to make several head office roles redundant to “streamline” and future-proof the business. The changes will affect 300 positions, including some that are currently vacant. This is less than 2% of the total Arcadia workforce.

Last week, New Look scrapped nearly 400 store management roles after carrying out a redundancy consultation with 1,000 staff.

As exclusively revealed by Drapers in July, House of Fraser placed several head office roles into consultation as part of its five-year strategy.

In February, John Lewis announced 387 job losses following a consultation with 773 members of staff.


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