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Mothercare UK appoints PricewaterhouseCoopers as administrators | Business News



Mothercare UK has confirmed the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers as administrators for the collapsed company.

The company said that, after taking insolvency and legal advice, its board has decided that “there was no reasonable alternative but to appoint administrators”.

Following the appointment, announced on Tuesday evening, Mothercare chairman Clive Whiley said that – despite changes made over the last 18 months contributing to a reduction in net debt – “Mothercare UK continues to consume cash on an unsustainable basis”.

He added: “It is with deep regret and sadness that we have been unable to avoid the administration of Mothercare UK and Mothercare Business Services, and we fully understand the significant impact on those UK colleagues and business partners who are affected.”

The company said that the administration process would provide “a sustainable future for the company, including the wider group’s global colleagues, its pension fund, lenders and other stakeholders”.

Mr Whiley added in a statement that the existence of the wider Mothercare group would have been under threat if the UK business had not called in administrators.

The PricewaterhouseCoopers administrators were named as Zelf Hussain, Toby Banfield, and David Baxendale to coordinate Mothercare UK’s next steps.

The retailer said that it was finalising agreements to secure additional funds “to preserve the group’s financial position and future as a solvent group.”

It added: “The ongoing group will drive a greater focus on strengthening its global brand, improving the product design, marketing and distribution of Mothercare products around the world to its franchisees.”

The retailer announced on Monday morning, hours after a story by Sky News, that it was filing a notice in court to appoint administrators to Mothercare UK and its support arm Mothercare Business Services (MBS).

The company’s 2,500 UK-based employees will be at risk of redundancy if no buyer is found.

The workforce in Britain is split between 500 full-time employees and 2,000 part-time staff.

The UK business lost over £36m in its last financial year, which covered the period of the so-called Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) it had with creditors.

That deal, which involved the closure of more than 50 stores, secured by chairman Clive Whiley and chief executive Mark Newton-Jones, averted Mothercare UK’s immediate collapse.

Mothercare UK struggled to compete on value in the face of tough online and supermarket competition

Mothercare, which opened its first store in the UK in 1961 in Surrey, has been trying for several months to find a buyer for its UK business, which now comprises just 79 standalone outlets.

On the eve of administration, Sky News learned that the maternity and baby goods retailer was in talks with its pension trustees to move two employee pension schemes from the UK subsidiary into its parent company.

The schemes have nearly 6,000 members between them.

A transfer would avert the likelihood of the schemes being dumped into the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), which would see reductions made to future retirement benefits.

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