Mothercare Closes-Down Unprofitable Oxford Street Store
Mothercare has closed-down its Oxford Street, London branch. The store closed to the public for the last time on Wednesday. Holland & Barrett will take the keys to the unit once the premises is vacated, they currently also occupy the shop next door.
The nursery goods and children’s clothing retailer has been running-up losses on Oxford Street for a number of years, however, that has not always been the case. Ten years ago the store struggled to break-even on Britain’s busiest high street, then work was carried out to reduce the size of the shop to under 8,000 square feet. Ben Gordon, the CEO at the time, told the London Evening Standard, in a 2009 interview, that the shop became: “…highly profitable, making the best part of £1 million a year.”
In recent years losses have become significant and the company has been actively looking for someone to takeover the lease. In 2014, a deal fell through. In 2015, Mothercare appointed commercial real estate firm CBRE to find a retailer to take on the lease. In January this year, trade journal Property Week said homeware retailer Wilkos would take-over the unit which has an annual rent of £1.2 million and a rates bill in excess of £400,000.
All staff employed at the store are in redundancy consultation with the opportunity to work elsewhere in the company, however, it is a condition that they actually must apply for existing vacant positions. It is likely that most will be made redundant.