Online sales blamed for Mothercare’s store slash

Channel NewsChannel Strategy

Amazon man poached to turn firm around

Ebay and second hand clothing stores are triumphing over Mothercare, which has been described as “pricey” and “outdated” by mothers.

The comments from a consortium of mothers come as the high street store announced that it plans to close more stores over the next three years.

In May last year it said it would be reducing the total UK stores from 373 to 266 by March this year. However, today it announced that only 200 stores would survive the cut by 2015.

It is thought the main reason for the closures is down to the company’s sales, which dropped by 6.2 percent from March 2011 to 2012.

And many mums are blaming the company’s prices and ranges as the reason. One told Channelbiz: “Mothercare is over priced. For the price of two outfits I could get an entire wardrobe on eBay.”

One claimed the retailer’s “prices were a lot for what you get,” and another said she was “unable to justify spending £20 on one item of clothing” when eBay and the like offered £2 bundles and clothes with tags still on for a couple of pounds.

Even the brand’s iconic status did nothing to tug on heart strings with one mum telling ChannelBiz: “Do I feel sorry for Mothercare? No. Its prices shouldn’t be so ridiculous in the first place.”

However, it’s not just prices keeping people away from the store, with many highlighting the fact that the retailers clothing ranges aren’t as up to date as those offered in Next,  H&M and Zara. This is despite the retailer trying to stay on-trend by introducing celebrity ranges such as BabyK by Myleene Klass.

“If I want traditional heritage clothing I’ll go to Marks and Spencer,” one mum told us.

And the list continued with complaints about late deliveries.

Despite the company promising to price match branded items, the internet has also triumphed with cheaper delivery costs than the higher priced items offered by the store.

However, Mothercare doesn’t seem to want to hold up the white flag just yet.  It recently announced an operational review of its business and managed to poach Amazon man Simon Calver with the promise of a CEO title.

Mr Calver will join Mothercare next month, replacing Ben Gordon, who left the firm by mutual consent in November last year after the firm issued two profit warnings last year.

Whether the retailer will be able to lower its prices to compete with eBay, and introduce a new clothing line that will rival other high street stores and justify the price range, remains to be seen.

See Also
British high street shops refuse to innovate
Game gets a financial bail out

Click to read the authors bio  Click to hide the authors bio