Thousands of shoppers rush to Mothercare after closing-down sale announced

Thousands of shoppers rush to Mothercare to get their favourite baby products before it closes forever as website crashes and another childcare chain Mamas and Papas also collapses

  • Mothercare announced all its stores will close on Tuesday – 2,500 jobs in danger
  • Eager shopper flocked to stores in Cardiff & Swansea to get their hands on items 
  • Comes as rival store Mamas & Papas collapsed into administration today 
  • 73 staff redundant with immediate effect and 54 further jobs also now at risk
  • Aberdeen, Preston, Milton Keynes, Lincoln, Leamington and Fareham closures 

Eager shoppers rushed to Mothercare to get their hands their favourite items at bargain prices as the store announced it was going into administration. 

Customers flocked to Mothercare stores in Cardiff and Swansea on Friday after a nationwide closing down sale was announced. 

It comes as rival childcare store Mamas & Papas collapsed into administration today with six store closures and up to 125 jobs axed.  

At the Culverhouse Cross Mothercare store in Cardiff, queues snaked from the tills through to the back of the store. While at the Parc Tawe Retail Park store in Swansea some shoppers said they queued for nearly an hour just to get inside the shop.

But some customers admitted feeling let down that discounts were not for larger amounts.  

A large queue of eager shoppers at a Mothercare store in Swansea on Friday. Many rushed to Mothercare to get their hands their favourite items at bargain prices as the store announced it was going into administration

At the Culverhouse Cross Mothercare store in Cardiff, queues snaked from the tills through to the back of the store. While at the Parc Tawe Retail Park store in Swansea some shoppers said they queued for nearly an hour just to get inside the shop

At the Culverhouse Cross Mothercare store in Cardiff, queues snaked from the tills through to the back of the store. While at the Parc Tawe Retail Park store in Swansea some shoppers said they queued for nearly an hour just to get inside the shop

The sale was announced following news the baby and maternity retailer is preparing to close all of its 79 stores after administrators were appointed earlier this week. 

Mothercare announced on Friday morning that a ‘massive closing down sale’ would start with items ‘dramatically reduced’ but with some exceptions. It said customers could ‘expect to find a huge range of discounts and bargains as all stock must go’.

But some customers were disappointed to find that some items were only reduced by up to 20%.

Julie Evans, from Swansea, bought a discounted travel cot.

‘It wasn’t worth coming down to be honest,’ Julie said.

‘I got 10% off but their mark up is bigger anyway so I don’t think I saved much in the end.

‘I got here about 45 minutes ago and there aren’t many people in the store now, just a bit of a queue at the tills so I don’t know why they’re making people queue out here for so long.’

One shopper, who did not want to be named, said: ‘Lots of disappointed and angry people in Mothercare in Swansea as they’ve queued for ages at the till only to find items not on sale or a measly 10% off.’

Another shopper at the Swansea store said: ‘There’s nothing in the store suggesting there is a sale. You just take your items to the till and they apply a discount there.’

Mothercare announced on Friday morning that a 'massive closing down sale' would start with items 'dramatically reduced' but with some exceptions. It said customers could 'expect to find a huge range of discounts and bargains as all stock must go'

Mothercare announced on Friday morning that a ‘massive closing down sale’ would start with items ‘dramatically reduced’ but with some exceptions. It said customers could ‘expect to find a huge range of discounts and bargains as all stock must go’

One shopper, who did not want to be named, said: 'Lots of disappointed and angry people in Mothercare in Swansea as they've queued for ages at the till only to find items not on sale or a measly 10% off'

One shopper, who did not want to be named, said: ‘Lots of disappointed and angry people in Mothercare in Swansea as they’ve queued for ages at the till only to find items not on sale or a measly 10% off’

Debbie Lewis, 54, went to Mothercare at Valegate Retail Park in Culverhouse Cross on Friday to start her Christmas shopping.

‘I got some good stuff,’ she said. ‘Mainly Peppa Pig things for my granddaughter.

‘It should have come to seventy-odd pounds but I paid about £40 so it was a good deal.

‘I would have got them anyway but when I heard they were closing I had to rush down.’

Debbie said Mothercare had been a ‘lifesaver’ when her grandson was younger.

The grandmother-of-two said although the queue was long it only took her about 20 minutes to be served at the till.

‘It’s sad to see this close because it’s the only real baby shop we have here,’ she said. ‘It’s a sad day for everybody I think.’

Stan Davies, 85, also visited the Culverhouse Cross store to buy items for his grandson.

‘I just came to buy clothes in general for my grandson,’ Stan said. ‘He’s three going on four.

‘We used to come here quite often. It’s rather sad to see the demise of it actually.

‘The price is the right level and quality is quite good.’

Eager shoppers form a queue outside a Mothercare store in Wales after a nationwide closing down sale was announced

Eager shoppers form a queue outside a Mothercare store in Wales after a nationwide closing down sale was announced

He added: ‘It was 10% off some items and 20% off others. I must have saved quite a bit.

‘If it was an average of 15% off – I spent about £100 so you can work it out from there.’

A spokesman for Mothercare Cardiff said: ‘This is a great opportunity for customers to pick up some amazing deals as everything is reduced.’

Baby shop Mamas & Papas collapsed into administration today with six store closures and up to 125 jobs axed – just three days after rival Mothercare went bust putting 2,500 people out of work.

The retailer has made 73 staff redundant with immediate effect and has put 54 further jobs at risk within its head office as another of Britain’s high street chains crumbled.

Mamas & Papas said its unprofitable stores in Aberdeen, Preston, Milton Keynes, Lincoln, Leamington and Fareham closed today as a result. 

The company, which had 27 stores and three concessions, said its remaining stores will continue to trade as normal, as well as online.

The Mamas & Papas store in Fareham (pictured) shut immediately today - one of six to shut as the chain collapsed

The Mamas & Papas store in Fareham (pictured) shut immediately today – one of six to shut as the chain collapsed

Bluegem Capital, which has owned the business since 2014, has bought the company assets through a pre-pack administration which will cut some of its financial liabilities. 

The administration came after it was put under pressure as its shoppers moved online and high street footfall continued to decline. 

The six  Mamas & Papas stores axed TODAY

Aberdeen

Preston 

Milton Keynes 

Lincoln

Leamington 

Fareham  

However, it has announced plans to ‘simplify’ operations at its head office in Huddersfield, which could lead to further job losses.

It was founded in 1981 in Huddersfield by David and Luisa Scacchetti and rapidly grew but was bought by Bluegem after a restructuring process five years ago.

Riccardo Cincotta, executive chairman of Mamas & Papas, said: ‘These actions are always difficult but they are also necessary in a challenging market to ensure Mamas & Papas achieves its considerable future potential.

‘We remain fully focused on maintaining our position as the UK’s most popular nursery brand’.

The Mamas & Papas website does not mention the crisis with the majority of its stores and its digital sales continuing

The Mamas & Papas website does not mention the crisis with the majority of its stores and its digital sales continuing 

Marco Capello, managing partner at Bluegem Capital, said: ‘As long-term owners of the business, we remain fully committed to supporting Mamas & Papas on its growth journey.

‘The business now has a solid platform from which to achieve this ambition, so we can look forward to the future with confidence.’

Rival Mothercare collapsed on Monday, leading to the closure of its 79 stores and loss of 2,800 jobs.

The pair are the most recent casualties of the downturn on UK high streets which has seen a raft administrations in 2019.

The administration is the second retail failure for Bluegem, which was the previous owner of Jack Wills before it collapsed into administration and was bought by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct in August.

Bloodbath on the High Street: How shops in the UK went from bustling to bust 

Mothercare has become the latest UK retailer to feel the pressure of the recent downturn affecting the high street. 

Uncertainty among consumers and a drive towards online shopping has put pressure on Mothercare as well as lot of its neighbouring retailers.

According to auditing giant KPMG, 44 retail businesses entered administration in just the six months to September, including a number of high street stalwarts.

Here are some of the key retailers which have gone bust or entered administration in the recent months and years:

-Mamas & Papas

Mamas & Papas collapsed into administration today with six store closures, just days after rival Mothercare went bust. The retailer has made 73 staff redundant with immediate effect and has put 54 further jobs at risk within its head office.

 

-Mothercare

Mothercare collapsed this week, leading to the closure of its 79 stores and loss of 2,800 jobs. Bosses blamed the high street’s ‘near existential problem’ for the firm’s demise.

 

-LK Bennett

The fashion retailer was bought from administration in a rescue deal in April, but said it would close 10 stores with the loss of 110 jobs after a downturn in performance.

-Jack Wills

Jack Wills collapsed into administration in August before it was snapped up by retail tycoon Mike Ashley.

-Karen Millen and Coast

All Karen Millen and Coast’s 32 UK stores were closed in September after it slid into administration, although its online brand was saved by Boohoo.

-Patisserie Valerie

Patisserie Valerie went into administration in January before being rescued after an equity fund agreed to acquire the café chain, saving about 2,000 jobs. The buyers intend to keep open 96 stores across the UK.

-Jamie’s 

All but three of Jamie Oliver’s 25 UK restaurants closed in May after it went into administration with the loss of 1,000 jobs. 

-Byron 

Up to 20 Byron outlets closed in a rescue plan for the burger chain, it announced in January when it had about 1,800 staff employed. 

-Links of London

The jewellery retailer is in the midst of an administration after a tumultuous spell under the ownership of Greek business Folli Follie, leaving its 35 stores and 350 jobs at risk.

-Supercuts/Regis

High street hairdressing chains Supercuts and Regis, which have 223 salons in total, are under threat after their owner fell into administration.

-Bonmarche

The value retailer fell into administration last month, raising fears over the future of its 318 shops and 2,900 staff. It is currently searching for a buyer.

-Bathstore

Bathstore fell into administration in June, but 44 of the company’s stores were saved in a rescue deal with Homebase.

-Select

The fashion retailer fell into administration in May, before launching a CVA restructuring plan in June.

-Thomas Cook

The travel business was the most notable failure of the high street, collapsing with 800 stores, although 555 of these were saved by rival Hays Travel.

-Oddbins

The wine specialist closed a raft of stores after it fell into administration in February, the second time it had collapsed in around eight years.

-Debenhams

The department store chain entered administration in April as it sought to reduce its debt and start a major restructuring process, which would result in store closures.

-Toys R’ Us

The UK’s largest toy shop went into administration in February 2018, leading to an estimated 2,000 redundancies.

-House of Fraser

The department store chain was on the verge of heading into administration but was rescued at the eleventh hour by Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley.

Maplin

The electronics giant has gone bust, closing shops across the country and putting thousands of jobs at risk.

-Poundworld

Poundworld announced it was going into administration in June 2018 after talks with potential buyer R Capital broke down, putting 5,100 jobs at risk.

-Homebase

The DIY chain set to close 42 DIY outlets shut, putting around 1,500 jobs at risk. 

Orla Kiely

Orla Kiely, the Irish fashion retailer collapsed in September and closed all its stores after a slump in profits.

-HMV

Last December HMV entered into administration with its flagship London Oxford Street having closed earlier this year.

-Pretty Green

In March, Liam Gallagher’s Pretty Green filed a notice of intention to appoint Moorfields Advisory to handle insolvency problems across its UK stores. At the beginning of April 2019 JD Sports purchased the company, saving around 70 jobs.

-Carpetright

The carpet retailer is closing 92 stores across the UK. These closures represent nearly a quarter of all UK Carpetright stores. 

‘All stock must go!’ Mothercare kicks off huge closing-down sale in all 79 of its remaining UK stores and online

Mothercare has launched a closing down sale with all items reduced from today after going into administration. 

The chain is closing all its 79 retail stores in the UK and is reducing all items apart from concessions, milk, food and medicines and third party gift cards, its website states.

Stock levels are said to remain high while warehouses are cleared out, meaning customers are offered plenty of choice – but the more popular ranges could sell out fast so potential buyers are advised to act quickly. 

The website will stay live with discounts available until further notice.  

Customers are advised to spend gift cards as soon as possible. 

The chain is closing all its 79 retail stores in the UK and has reduced all items apart from concessions, milk, food and medicines and third party gift cards

The chain is closing all its 79 retail stores in the UK and has reduced all items apart from concessions, milk, food and medicines and third party gift cards

Mothercare operates in 1,010 overseas franchise stores, which PWC say remain profitable while ‘the UK segment has been loss making for a number of years’ 

Mothercare in Taff Street, Pontypridd, in December 1968. The retailer was founded by Selim Zilkha and Sir James Goldsmith in 1961

Mothercare in Taff Street, Pontypridd, in December 1968. The retailer was founded by Selim Zilkha and Sir James Goldsmith in 1961

How Mothercare became a high street favourite before falling on hard times

Mothercare was founded by Selim Zilkha and Sir James Goldsmith in 1961 with its first store opening in Surrey.

The retailer specialises in products for expectant mothers and general merchandise for children up to eight years old.

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

After BHS stores were sold to Philip Green in 2000, Mothercare split from BHS and was bought by the Early Learning Centre in 2007.

In recent times, Mothercare has transformed itself into an international franchising group and trades from 1,000 stores in about 50 countries. 

But last year the retailer announced it would close 50 stores after its UK business had been unprofitable for more than a decade.

Then in July this year it was announced Mothercare planned to split its British operation from its international arm.

Last week restructuring experts from accountancy giant KPMG were brought in to try and come up with a rescue package for the ailing high street store.

Product warranties and guaranties will stay valid.

A spokesperson for Mothercare said: ‘This is a great opportunity for customers to pick up some amazing deals as everything is reduced. 

‘Demand will be high so don’t wait to grab a fantastic deal, especially if you’re Christmas shopping. 

‘We’d also like to thank our customers for their historic support of the brand.’ 

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) were appointed as administrators of Mothercare’s British branch on November 5. 

Mothercare operates in 1,010 overseas franchise stores, which PWC say remain profitable while ‘the UK segment has been loss making for a number of years’.

Earlier this week the new administrators the troubled retailer said it would close all its 79 shops in the UK, putting 2,500 jobs at risk.  

Zelf Hussain at administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers said: ‘It’s with real regret that we have to implement a phased closure of all UK stores. Our focus will be to help employees and keep the stores trading for as long as possible.

‘This is a sad moment for a well-known high street name.’

On Monday, Mothercare said it has undertaken a review of the UK business and found that it is ‘not capable of returning to a level of structural profitability’.

It said the business is therefore unable to satisfy the cash needs of the UK arm and is therefore filing the notice as part of the restructuring and refinancing process.

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

 

Distinct Today is a news media company, focused on the intersection between hyper-relevant content and digital innovation. Distinct Today curates editorial news content, experiences, and events across multiple platforms including email, mobile, online and offline. Distinct Today is headquartered in Houston, Texas. The company is privately held. Distinct Today targets an affluent, college-educated audience.