Mothercare has hired an ecommerce veteran as its new chief executive as it looks to improve its position as a multichannel retailer.
Simon Calver joins the nursery retailing group, which also includes the Early Learning Centre, from digital entertainment company LOVEFiLM, which is now part of Amazon. Calver replaces Ben Gordon, who left the company by mutual consent in November after nine years. He joins Mothercare at a time when falling sales have prompted a structural review of its UK business, including its ecommerce operations.
In the first half of its financial year, to October 8 2011, the company reported bottom-line losses of £81.4m, down from a profit of £0.3m at the same time last year. Sales fell across the Mothercare group, with like-for-like figures down by 7%, and ecommerce sales down by 5.6%.
Today Calver said he was delighted to have the opportunity to lead the “iconic company as we work to consolidate its position as one of the world’s leading parenting groups.” He added: “While there are near-term challenges ahead, I am committed to the recovery of the UK business and the accelerated growth of these aspirational brands around the world.”
Mothercare chairman Alan Parker said: “Simon Calver is a highly successful business leader with experience heading multinational consumer facing organisations. His ecommerce and brand expertise will enable Mothercare to accelerate its development as a multichannel retailer in the UK and his international perspective will be invaluable to the continued rapid expansion of Mothercare and Early Learning Centre globally.”
Calver, who started his career at Lever Brothers, has been chief executive of LOVEFiLM since 2005, and led its merger with Video Island.