November 8, 2019 @ 16:41 by Steven Hugill
A baby clothing and equipment retailer has cut jobs and closed stores in an operational restructure – but North East shops have escaped the axe.
Mamas & Papas says 73 staff have been made redundant – with a further 54 head office roles at risk – after it was sold in a pre-pack administration deal.
Bosses say the cuts are a necessary step in securing the business’ future amid a changing marketplace, where traditional physical store demand faces competition from rising online clamour.
Loss-making stores in Aberdeen, Preston, Milton Keynes, Lincoln, Leamington and Fareham have closed.
However, bosses say remaining stores, which include outlets at Gateshead’s Team Valley Retail Park and Teesside Shopping Park, in Stockton, are continuing to trade as normal, as are the retailer’s digital, wholesale and concessions businesses.
Explaining the changes, which has seen certain assets of Mamas & Papas (Retail) Limited sold to other companies in the Mamas & Papas Group, executive chairman Riccardo Cincotta said the company has had to adapt in “in light of customers’ changing behaviour and…their evolving needs.”
“These actions are always difficult, but they are also necessary in a challenging market to ensure Mamas & Papas achieves its considerable future potential,” he said.
“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 omni-channel offering that reflects their evolving needs,” continued Riccardo.
“Our digital performance is tracking ahead of expectation, our wholesale distribution in the UK and internationally continues to grow, and our in-store personal shopping experience remains highly valued by our customers.”
He confirmed all customer orders, including any outstanding orders placed with the closed stores, are unaffected and will be delivered.
Marco Capello, managing partner at Bluegem Capital, which acquired Mamas & Papas in 2014, added: “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.”