Staff at Kirkcaldy’s Mothercare face an anxious wait after the firm announced plans to close 50 UK stores, with the loss of hundreds of jobs.
The company, which has experienced financial difficulties in recent years, intends to carry out the closures through a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) – a move which allows companies to close loss-making shops and secure rental discounts.
Lesley Laird, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, said: “This news is very disappointing and my thoughts are with staff at Kirkcaldy’s Mothercare who now face an anxious wait to see if their jobs are affected.
“I’ve been in touch with the company this morning and understand no official announcement about particular stores will be made until all affected staff have been informed.
“I hope this news will be forthcoming soon, for the sake of workers here.”
She added: “The closure of this store would be a blow to Kirkcaldy, and Fife Retail Park, coming hard on the heels of the closure of the Toys R Us right next door.
“Let’s hope it won’t come to that.”
Mothercare employs around 3000 people across 137 UK outlets
As part of the wide-ranging shake up Mothercare will also re-hire the chief executive it sacked just weeks ago, Mark Newton Jones, and announced a refinancing package worth up to £113.5 million.
Chairman Clive Whiley said: “The recent financial performance of the business, impacted in particular by a large number of legacy loss-making stores within the UK estate, has resulted in an unsustainable situation for the Mothercare brand, meaning the group was in clear need of an appropriate resolution.
“These comprehensive measures provide a renewed and stable financial structure for the business and will drive a step change in Mothercare’s transformation.
“These measures provide a solid platform from which to reposition the group and begin to focus on growth, both in the UK and internationally.”
In a further statement, A Mothercare spokesperson said: “We can’t comment on individual store closures until all staff have been informed, which is our absolute priority.
“Of course we regret having to close stores and the impact this will have on colleagues. However, we had no alternative to executing a CVA.
“The business was in an unsustainable situation and was in clear need of an appropriate resolution and today’s comprehensive measures provide a renewed and stable financial structure for the business, and will allow Mothercare to accelerate its adaptation to the shifting dynamic towards online.”
Pic: Indi Samarajiva