Over 100 Mothercare stores for sale?

Retailer sends list of 121 outlets that could be up for grabs as out-of-town plans continue.
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The Independent on Sunday has reported that property agency CB Richard Ellis has been sending a “confidential list” of for-sale locations to other retailers and potential buyers.

The maternity retailer wants to cash-in on 32 failing stores immediately, with the remainder to be sold only if the price is right.

Plans were outlined last month to move the retail operation to shopping malls and other large ‘out-of-town’ locations and Mothercare is using the extra floor-space to consolidate with subsidiary brand the Early Learning Centre – the retailer describes the combined shops as ‘parenting centres’.

Mothercare declined to comment to The Independent on Sunday on the 121-store list, but its chief executive, Ben Gordon, said last month in a trading update: "The UK trading environment however remains difficult with weaker consumer demand and lower footfall."

The newspaper also revealed that Mike Logue, a former Asda director, is on the verge of joining as UK director for Mothercare and Early Learning Centre, leaving Mr Gordon free to concentrate on the overseas operation.

Meanwhile, the Mothercare-owned baby and parenting website gurgle.com is to launch its first print edition this month.

Gurgle magazine will be printed six times a year and will initially only be sold in Mothercare stores. 200,000 copies of the launch issue will be distributed nationwide with 175,000 copies going to stores and Early Learning Centre outlets and around 25,000 being sold via subscription at www.gurgle.com.

MD of www.gurgle.com Andrew Tyler said the magazine will “provide a new opportunity for Mothercare and ELC to engage with their customers as well as offering something genuinely new in the parenting magazine market”.

There are plans to eventually roll out the website globally to the 49 countries in which Mothercare currently operates.

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