Mothercare stores empty their shelves

Another icon disappears from the High Street: last 79 Mothercare stores empty their shelves as they close down for a final time after 59 years

  • Final 79 stores belonging to the high street retailer Mothercare will shut down its remaining stores this week  
  • Today a branch in Bromborough, Merseyside could be seen with empty shelves after selling all of its stock
  • Mothercare was founded by Selim Zilkha and Sir James Goldsmith in 1961, with its first store opening in Surrey

There was a time when this store would have been heaving with expectant mothers shopping for baby bottles and prams, nappies, and colourful toys that go ‘ping’.

But now, that mecca for mothers-to-be, Mothercare, is soon to be no more – as can be seen in these images taken today of its Bromborough branch in Wirral, Merseyside, which is set to close tonight.

They show the reality of the final day of trading for the former High Street favourite, which first opened its doors to trading in 1961 with a shop in Surrey.

The store in Bromborough appears to have all its stock now sold. It is understood staff were also selling off plastic baskets and railings in a bid to make final profits for the company, which went into administration in November last year after suffering huge losses.

All 79 Mothercare stores are set to close by the end of the week – putting 2,500 people out of work.

This was the deserted scene today at Mothercare’s branch in Bromborough, in Wirral, Merseyside, which is set to close tonight

The empty Mothercare store is among 79 stores that are set to close by the end of the week – putting 2,500 people out of work

The store, which first opened its doors to trading in 1961 with a shop in Surrey and remained popular among expectant mothers will close it doors 

At the Mothercare branch in Bromborough, shelves appeared empty as the stored waved farewell to its customers 

The chain went into administration in November last year after suffering huge losses and will now shut down its last 79 stores. Pictured: Mothercare in Bromborough

The mother and baby retailer is currently selling off its remaining stock with huge discounts of up to 80 per cent available.

Emails have been sent to customers encouraging them to buy the last of its products.

One missive, which was shared on the Extreme Couponing and Bargains Facebook group said: ‘Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Stores must close this week.’

A Mothercare spokesman confirmed that all stores will be closed by Sunday.

The High Street stalwart went into administration after struggling to compete with online shopping, sky-high rents, and competing baby clothing offerings from supermarkets. 

In the year to the end of March, the company made a pre-tax loss of £87.3million. 

The retailer, which was once a thriving high-street store, went into administration after struggling to compete with online shopping and will now shut down its remaining stores across the UK

The store, initially focused on pushchairs, nursery furniture and maternity clothing, before expanding its business and catering for a range of items

The store (pictured during happier times) became a public company in 1972 and then went on to merge with the Habitat chain of retailers to form Habitat Mothercare plc

In the UK, Mothercare had already closed 55 stores over the past year in a desperate bid to keep the business afloat.

Despite the imminent closure of stores, the brand will still have a presence on the High Street.

The health, beauty and pharmacy chain Boots will start stocking Mothercare-branded products from the end of next summer, with a limited range available online in 2020. The exclusive deal secures the future of the brand in the UK for five years.

Boots will stock clothing as well as home and travel products, pushchairs and car seats, stocked at branches across the country.

It is part of a plan to reduce exposure to the struggling high street, and re-align its UK business with the rest of the world where Mothercare sells through partners.

Mothercare’s first shop catering for expectant mothers opened on September 19, 1961, at 23-25 Thames Street in Kingston, South West London

On January 8 the high street retailer took to Twitter to tell customers their items were on sale and said all stores were closing this week


In a series of tweets the store displayed a range of items that had been greatly reduced in price and which were currently on sale

The store, which was founded by Selim Zilkha and Sir James Goldsmith in 1961, displayed the vast array of items that are currently on sale

Following the announcement of its UK troubles, the firm insisted that it had a ‘successful global brand business’ with worldwide sales of £1,071 million

‘In Boots, another much-loved British heritage brand, we believe that Mothercare has found the right home in the UK,’ said chief executive Mark Newton-Jones.

Chairman Clive Whiley previously said British high streets were facing ‘a near existential problem’ with high rents and customers deciding to shop online.

‘Mothercare UK is far from immune to these headwinds,’ he said, adding it had been burning through cash.

‘It is with deep regret and sadness that we have been unable to avoid the administration,’ Mr Whiley added.

This week, the store has taken to its Twitter page to display the vast array of items that are currently on sale, telling customers: ‘Once it’s gone. It’s gone.’

The store, which was founded by Selim Zilkha and Sir James Goldsmith in 1961, has already closed 55 stores over the past year in an attempt to save its business. 

However despite the closure of its stores the brand will still have a presence on the High Street and will start stocking Mothercare-branded products from the end of next summer, with a limited range available online in 2020.

The exclusive deal secures the future of the brand in the UK for five years. 

Birth of a retail giant: How once-great Mothercare took over the world (starting with a shop in Surrey in 1961)

Pictured: A Mothercare store sits along a busy a high street in Pontypridd, South Wales, in December 1968. The retail chain was founded by Selim Zilkha and Sir James Goldsmith

1961: Mothercare was founded by Selim Zilkha and Sir James Goldsmith, with its first store opening in Surrey. The retailer specialised in products for expectant mothers and general merchandise for children up to eight – with an initial focus on pushchairs, nursery furniture and maternity clothing.

1962: The business started its mail order business.

1972: Mothercare first became a public company.

1982: Mothercare merged with Habitat and four years later Habitat Mothercare plc merged with British Home Stores.

2000: After BHS stores were sold to Philip Green that year, Mothercare split from BHS and was bought by the Early Learning Centre in 2007. In recent times, Mothercare transformed itself into an international franchising group and traded from 1,000 stores in about 50 countries – in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.

2018: The retailer announced it would close 50 stores after its UK business had been unprofitable for more than a decade.

July 2019: It was announced Mothercare planned to split its British operation from its international arm.

November 2019: Restructuring experts from accountancy giant KPMG were brought in to try and come up with a rescue package for the ailing high street store.  

 

 

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