The affected roles are in the retailer’s head office, sourcing and distribution operations.
According to the Toy Detective website, a consultation period will begin with the affected employees in its head office in Watford. It is thought unlikely that all 200 individuals will lose their jobs, however, the firm intends to make a number of (highly likely predetermined) redundancies in order reduce its wage bill.
The company wants to ditch products for school age children and focus entirely on selling products relevant to children from birth to four years of age and maternity products for mothers-to-be. This will see its clothing range cut-back, while its Early Learning Centre toy brand (owned by Mothercare since summer 2007) will see a drastic reduction in the number of toys designed to appeal to older children. Early Learning Centre also trades internationally under a franchise model, however, franchisees have a reasonable amount of freedom to adapt to the local market by stocking products that are not ELC branded, so producing a more concise toy range is not entirely detrimental to its current franchise partners.
In recent years, Mothercare has organised numerous restructures affecting both shop-floor employees and head office staff. The company is currently undergoing what it describes as a “Transformation and Growth” programme in order to consolidate the business as a profitable going concern.