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New Mothercare CEO to bring ‘focus’ to turnaround plan

David Wood, the new CEO of ailing retailer Mothercare has said he will bring “demanding focus on the execution” of the retailer’s turnaround plan.

Wood, who was formerly group president of US grocer Kmart Holdings and led a turnaround programme at Tesco Hungary, has replaced Mark Newton-Jones with immediate effect.

His appointment, which has seen Newton-Jones step down after four years, follows a January profit warning and the revelation in March that Mothercare was in talks with lenders to secure additional financing.

Wood said he would use his turnaround experience to revive the business.

“We have a company with a great brand and a very clear transformation strategy, but we are probably not getting the performance we expect from it so the first thing I will be bringing to the table is a very demanding focus on the execution and making sure we are delivering against that plan as fast and as swiftly as we can,” Wood said.

He described the turnaround plan as “very clear, focused and appropriate” and added: “Working out what isn’t’ working as well as it could and getting behind that will be where my first efforts have to be,” he added.

Mothercare chairman, Alan Parker, said it needed new leadership at a time when the retail sector faced headwinds and the business grappled with a decline in footfall.

Wood’s brief was, he said, to “do what we do and do it better.”

The business will continue to focus on its turnaround plan, which includes “focussing on mums-to-be, when they are expecting children through to pre-school” and “restricting” its range for children aged five and above, he said.

“Frankly our delivery and results have not been good enough, performance has been challenging, and the market conditions in the UK has been very tough,” Parker added.

“We are a great brand and what we need is fresh leadership with a chief executive experienced to navigate through the immediate challenges and deliver on our longer-term plan and I believe David has the credentials and track record that we now need.”

“We have looked at the results from after the last two years and frankly we have been disappointed, the share price, the performance of the company, and the results have not been what anybody has wanted and sooner or later the time has come to take a decision on that.

“Although we recognise Mark has done a good job, we think we can do even better moving forward.”

He added: “Mothercare is absolutely going to be successful, it’s a great brand, it deserves to be successful and we’re going to establish a profitable business in the UK.”

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