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Mothercare poised to fast-track store closures

Mothercare is expected to reveal it is speeding up its store closure programme when it unveils the conclusion to its strategic review in May, analysts believe.

The mother and baby specialist retailer, set out plans to reduce its UK store portfolio from 352 to 266 by March next year.

Mothercare chairman Alan Parker will publish the conclusion to its strategic review with its full-year results in May.

Charles Stanley Securities analyst Peter Smedley said: “The 266 store target was set before the start of the review. With the ongoing pressures on Mothercare’s core markets, it would be logical for this to be accelerated, with about 200 stores a reasonable number.”

The troubled retailer has put 158 Mothercare head office staff into consultation as part of the strategic review.

JP Morgan Cazenove halved its forecasted pre-tax profit in the year to March 2013 from £13m to £5.8m, due to price competition from John Lewis, Kiddicare and the supermarkets. Pre-tax profit for the current financial year remained unchanged at £1.4m.

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