Mamas & Papas has closed six shops with the loss of 73 jobs through a pre-pack administration – but says that its remaining stores and its growing online business will not be affected.
The nursery retailer took the step to go into administration, selling Mamas & Papas (Retail) assets to other companies in the same group – a move on which it was advised by Deloitte – days after fellow nursery sector retailer Mothercare put its UK business into administration. Mothercare is to close 79 stores, with the potential loss of 2,500 jobs.
The Mamas & Papas stores that have closed were in Aberdeen, Preston, Milton Keynes, Lincoln, Leamington and Fareham. The retailer, which still operates 26 stores, says that “all customer orders, including any outstanding orders placed with the closed stores, are completely unaffected and will be delivered on time and without disruption.”
Like Mothercare, Mamas & Papas has pursued a digital-first strategy, which it set out two years ago, when it launched a new ecommerce website and promoted a content and commerce strategy that aimed to engage with customers as well as sell products. At the time, it said its new website aimed to take the standard of service that customers receive in its stores to the internet.
Mamas & Papas, ranked Top150 in IRUK Top500 research, has also expanded through wholesale partnerships with third-party retailers including Argos. The retailer says that both its online and wholesale businesses are growing, while the six stores that are closing were unprofitable.
Riccardo Cincotta, executive chairman of Mamas & Papas, said: “Our digital performance is tracking ahead of expectations, our wholesale distribution in the UK and internationally continues to grow and our in-store personal shopping experience remains highly valued by our customers.”
Mamas & Papas is now reviewing its Huddersfield head office operations in order to simplify them, and says that could mean 54 further redundancies. Staff will be consulted before any decisions regarding head office head count are made.
Cincotta 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. We will continue to review our store portfolio in the light of customers’ changing behaviour and we remain fully committed to an omnichannel offering that reflects their evolving needs.”
Marco Capello, managing partner at Bluegem Capital, which bought Mamas & Papas in 2014, 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.”
Image courtesy of Mamas & Papas