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Mothercare removes yoga studios from stores

Mothercare has pulled yoga studios out of its stores, choosing instead to have play areas designed to appeal to time-poor parents.

The baby and kidswear retailer has closed all of its yoga studios, which were introduced three years ago, and launched play areas in six of its larger stores, according to The Telegraph.

The company opened its latest 10,000 sq ft concept store in Manchester Fort retail park on August 18, which features an in-store café, soft play area and a revamped Early Learning Centre toy shop.

Mothercare has previously announced plans to close underperforming stores and open larger units in retail parks, which are benefitting from increasing footfall compared a general trend of falling numbers visiting high streets and shopping centres.

The retailer is also trialling five clothing-biased stores in Peckham, Woolwich, Surrey Quays, Cheltenham and Livingstone, which have proved “very successful”. It increased the clothing mix from 40% to 80% and decreased home and travel from 40% to 15% and toys from 20% to 5%.

“Since we undertook these changes three to four months ago, sales in the stores have grown by 3% and margin by 6-10%,” chief executive Mark Newton-Jones told Drapers in May, when the retailer announced it had halved its pre-tax losses from £26.3m to £13.1m in the year to March 28, off the back of £1.2bn in group sales.

The losses in its UK business narrowed from £21.5m to £18m during the year, as sales grew 0.9% to £458m. Like-for-like UK sales were up 2%.

“We are intending to start rolling this out to other stores and I estimate that we have between 20-25 stores in terms of size and the markets that they are in that would be suitable for this kind of format.”

@Tara_Hounslea

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