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Mothercare confirm Stafford and Walsall shops to go

By Alex Ross | Stafford | Business | Published:

Mothercare shops in Stafford and Walsall are to close in a move to axe 50 of the firm’s underpeforming stores, it has been confirmed.

The Mothercare at Walsall’s Crown Wharf Retail Park

The two closures will place around 30 jobs at risk. The branches affected are at Walsall’s Crown Wharf Retail Park and Queen’s Retail Park in Stafford.

Stores at Merry Hill shopping centre in Brierley Hill and Telford are safe.

It comes as it emerged House of Fraser, which has Beatties in Wolverhampton and a branch in Birmingham, is locked in crisis talks with lenders in a bid to avoid collapse.

Just days ago Carphone Warehouse announced it was to close 100 stores this year, while Marks & Spencer has earmarked 14 branches for closure, including its Walsall branch.

Stafford councillor Christine Baron said: “It is another sad day for business. The problem we have is people are shopping online and not supporting the local shops.

"Habits need to change or rents brought down to support firms.”

The Mothercare store at Queens Shopping Centre in Stafford

Walsall Council leader Mike Bird said: “We have to embrace the changes happening in our towns. I believe its time we encourage more independent stores to open rather than High Street brands.”

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Black Country Chamber of Trade member, Ninder Johal, said: “This is not a surprise, we have seen that Mothercare have been in trouble for a while, they have not adapted to the changing retail landscape.”

The Mothercare closures will be done through a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), which allows companies to close loss-making shops and secure rental discounts.

Clive Whiley, Mothercare’s interim executive chairman, said: “We are very grateful for the support of our many stakeholders across our creditor base in supporting today’s CVA proposals.”

The closure programme will see the firm receive a refinancing package worth up to £113.5 million.

Shares in the company, which recorded a £72.8m pre-tax loss in the year up to March 24, bounced up seven per cent following the news.

Mothercare employs about 3,000 people in 137 outlets in the UK.

Alex Ross

By Alex Ross
Investigations Editor - @alexross_star

Investigations Editor at the Express & Star. Everyone has a story - tell me yours.

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