Daniel Le Vesconte has been appointed as Mothercare’s new Chief Executive, its first boss since 2020.

Joining from Abercrombie & Fitch where he held the role of group vice president for its European markets, Le Vesconte will take on the new role from January.

The Watford-based baby retailer has admitted that recovery to pre-pandemic trading was “taking time”. The nursery giant was forced to close 79 high street stores after collapsing into administration just before the first nation-wide lockdown.

Turnover at Mothercare Group fell in the six months to 24 September 2022 to £38.5m, falling 7% from £41.7m the year before.

Adjusted EBITDA was £3.2m, falling from £5.6m while adjusted profit from operations fell to £2.9m from £5.6m in the same period in 2021. Adjusted profit before tax fell £1.7m from £2.6m in 2021.

Profit for the period was £0.4m from £3.6m in the six months to 25 September 2021.

International retail sales at its franchise operations, excluding Russia, however, jumped by 15% to £162.mln from £140.8mln a year earlier.

The retailer said that the medium-term guidance of its franchise operations, in normal circumstances, is exceeding £10 million operating profit.

Chairman Clive Whiley said that trading conditions will likely remain “challenging” across its markets, though consumer sentiment, improvements to its offer and demographic of births around the world will “provide a degree of insulation”. 

Whiley said: “Our results demonstrate the strong foundations and resilience we have created in the business over recent years. Furthermore, we have generated both profit and cash despite the impact of Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine.”

The group said its priority now is to navigate out of the suppressed demand and recover from supply chain disruptions while simultaneously building footfall and online sales, although Whiley said “this inevitably means that a return to pre-pandemic levels of trading is taking time.”

[Source: Retail Gazette]

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