A CLOUD was hanging over another town centre store today, after Mothercare revealed plans to axe 111 branches.
The struggling retailer will close the shops over the next three years, affecting 730 jobs.
It was not yet clear which branches will go. Bosses at the King Street store in South Shields were today unavailable for comment.
If it does close, it would be a further blow to South Shields’s main shopping street, which only last month saw Game close, taking a handful of jobs.
Peters Bakers also closed its doors for the final time last month, leaving another empty outlet.
Mothercare bosses revealed plans to cut the number of outlets in the UK from 311 to 200, which will include 36 Mothercare sites and 75 Early Learning Centres, after months of weak trade.
The announcement came as the the mothers-to-be, babies and children’s group revealed a further deterioration in UK like-for-like sales, which fell 9.5 per cent in the 12 weeks to March 31, compared with three per cent in the previous quarter.
Alan Parker, executive chairman, said the changes will see the group transformed into a “lean, more competitive business”.
He added: “Mothercare is a great global brand with strong international partners. Today marks the beginning of a three-year turnaround, and I am confident we will deliver a sustained recovery and long-term success.”
Mothercare said as part of its cost-reduction programme, it would slash UK head office payroll costs by up to 16 per cent, which will equate to about 90 roles.
The remaining 200 stores will be “profitable”, the group said, and will comprise 95 out-of-town sites and 105 high street locations, while the closures will improve UK profits by £13 million by March 2015.
The company has closed 62 stores this financial year - three Mothercare outlets and 59 Early Learning Centres.