SHOP staff in Hampshire are among 2,500 whose jobs are at risk after Mothercare UK became the latest famous retailer to announce it was calling in administrators.

The chain has branches at Southampton’s West Quay Retail Park and Solent Retail Park in Havant.

The global Mothercare group said its UK business was “not capable of returning to a level of structural profitability”.

Mothercare UK – which has around 500 full-time staff and 2,000 part-time – lost £36.9million in the financial year to March.

Giving notice of its intention to appoint administrators to Mothercare UK and Mothercare Business Services (MBS), Mothercare PLC said: “Since May 2018, we have undertaken a root and branch review of the Group and Mothercare UK within it, including a number of discussions over the summer with potential partners regarding our UK Retail business.

“Through this process, it has become clear that the UK retail operations of the Group, which today includes 79 stores, are not capable of returning to a level of structural profitability and returns that are sustainable for the Group as it currently stands and/or attractive enough for a third party partner to operate on an arm’s length basis. Furthermore, the company is unable to continue to satisfy the ongoing cash needs of Mothercare UK.

“These notices of intent to appoint administrators in respect of Mothercare UK and MBS are a necessary step in the restructuring and refinancing of the Group. Plans are well advanced and being finalised for execution imminently. A further announcement will be made in due course.”

Mothercare said the listed group remains profitable despite the problems at its UK division.

Mothercare UK has closed 55 stores over the past year in a bid to keep the business afloat.

In July, it said that it was making progress through its company voluntary arrangement (CVA) restructuring plan but saw UK profit margins improve slower than forecast due to the difficult retail backdrop.

The closures helped drive down UK sales by 23.2 per cent for the 15 weeks to July.

Earlier this year, Mothercare UK sold its Early Learning Centre business to rival toy business The Entertainer for £13.5m.

Richard Lim, chief executive officer at Retail Economics, said: “Years of under-investment in the online business and its inability to differentiate itself as a specialist for young families and expectant parents has been the root of its seemingly inevitable downfall.

“As competition has become fiercer they have been beaten on price, convenience and the overall customer experience.

“Put simply, they have been left behind in today’s rapidly evolving market and the board has been unable to restructure the business fast enough to cope with a new retail paradigm that has emerged.”