Up to 90 jobs to go at Huddersfield-based Mamas & Papas

Nursery products firm also seeks rent cut deal to combat tough trading conditions

Mamas & Papas

Scores of jobs are set to go at the Huddersfield headquarters of nursery products firm Mamas & Papas.

The family-run business has launched a 30-day consultation with its 440 employees at the Colnebridge head office. It is understood that between 50 and 90 staff could be made redundant.

The company is seeking volunteers but is also believed to be asking employees to come forward with cost-saving ideas.

At the same time, Mamas & Papas is contacting the landlords of its 60 UK stores urging them to agree a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) which would allow the firm to revise its lease terms and reduce its rents bill.

The shock announcement comes just days after Mamas & Papas appointed experienced retail executive Derek Lovelock as interim chief executive to help the company weather tough trading in the UK.

Derek Lovelock (left) and David Scacchetti at Mamas & Papas
 

Last month, Mamas & Papas also announced new investment from private equity group BlueGem Capital Partners – the financiers behind London retailer Liberty.

Mamas & Papas said its proposals would safeguard the future of the UK retail arm of its business in the face of a persistently tough trading environment. The moves follow the conclusion of a strategic review launched earlier this year.

The company’s 956 retail staff across the country are not included in the redundancy process at Huddersfield and all stores are trading as normal.

David Scacchetti, chairman of Mamas & Papas, said: “While our international and wholesale businesses are performing strongly, the UK retail environment is the toughest I’ve experienced in the 30 years since we founded Mamas & Papas and it has become clear that we need to take action if we are to maintain our proud position as a brand trusted by parents across the world.

“We believe the proposals just announced will create a platform to allow us to continue offering innovative, premium products to customers in the UK and internationally, both in stores and online.

“Alongside the investment from BlueGem, the strengthened leadership team and the support of our colleagues, we are confident we are taking the steps necessary to protect the Mamas & Papas brand and help it to achieve its potential in the future.”

Landlords of Mamas & Papas stores will vote on the terms of the CVA at a meeting on Wednesday, September 10.

Daniel Butters and Clare Boardman, of business advisory firm Deloitte have been appointed as nominees to supervise the CVA.

Mr Butters said: “The proposed CVA will allow the group to revise lease terms and proceed with its wider restructuring plan.

“The proposals put forward offer the best possible solution for Mamas & Papas (Retail) Ltd and all of its stakeholders in comparison to the likely alternative outcomes.”

Mr Lovelock, who is now charged with boosting the company’s fortunes, has extensive experience in the retail industry – most recently as chairman of Karen Millen and Aurora Fashions Ltd, owner of the Coast, Oasis and Warehouse brands.

Mamas & Papas was launched in 1981 by husband and wife David And Luisa Scacchetti to provide premium nursery products such as pushchairs, cots and bedding. Celebrity mothers using Mamas & Papas brands have included Gwen Stefani, Emma Bunton and Alicia Keys.

The firm has stores in about 60 countries, including Russia, China and the Middle East as well as its 60 UK stores in locations including Birstall Retail Park, Meadowhall, the Trinity Shopping Centre in Leeds, London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Birmingham.

What do you think?

What do you think about this story? Have your say by leaving your comments below.

Have your say below
 

Journalists

Doug Thomson
Huddersfield Town correspondent
Chris Roberts
Huddersfield Giants correspondent
Louise Cooper
Crime correspondent
Nick Lavigueur
Health Correspondent
Joanne Douglas
Local Government Correspondent
Linda Whitwam
Education Correspondent
Henryk Zientek
Business Correspondent
Val Javin
Features Editor
Martin Shaw
Mirfield Correspondent