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Mothercare to close all 79 stores with 2,500 jobs at risk, administrator says

A Mothercare store in Bristol that will soon be closing its doors. Credit: PA

The new administrators of troubled retailer Mothercare has said it will close all its 79 shops in the UK, putting 2,500 jobs at risk.

It came as the mother and baby retailer revealed it is holding last-ditch talks with potential partners as it battles to keep its brand in the UK and had raised £3.2 million from shareholders.

Zelf Hussain at administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said: “It’s with real regret that we have to implement a phased closure of all UK stores. Our focus will be to help employees and keep the stores trading for as long as possible.

“This is a sad moment for a well-known high street name.”

Mothercare has announced it will close its UK retail business. Credit: PA

The retailer filed a notice to appoint administrators for the UK division on Monday.

However, it is still holding discussions "to ensure that the group has an ongoing retail presence in the UK", the company said on Tuesday.

The group is understood to be looking at options which could include finding a partner to keep the Mothercare brand alive online, or a supermarket that has space to sell Mothercare-branded products.

Mothercare said it had raised £3.2 million from a group of existing investors, including its biggest shareholder, sheep farmer and investment banker Richard Griffiths.

In his first remarks since the crisis started on Monday, chairman Clive Whiley said British high streets were facing "a near existential problem" with high rents and customers deciding to shop online.

"Mothercare UK is far from immune to these headwinds," he said, adding it had been burning through cash.

"It is with deep regret and sadness that we have been unable to avoid the administration," Mr Whiley added.

Earlier on Tuesday, it was revealed that the company is set to move the pension schemes for its troubled UK business into its profitable parent group.

A deal would stop the funds being placed into the UK Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

The firm has two pension schemes in the UK, which between them have nearly 6,000 members. The schemes had a deficit of #139 million when they were last valued in 2017.