Mothercare has confirmed that it plans to close 50 stores as part of a rescue plan for the beleaguered babycare retailer.

The shake-up aimed at restoring the fortunes of the chain – details of which were first reported by Sky News – are likely to result in hundreds of job losses.

It will also see the return of chief executive Mark Newton-Jones just 36 days after he unexpectedly left the company.

Mothercare plans cuts to its UK store estate under a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), a plan which must be approved by creditors which would also see rent reductions at 21 further outlets.

The plans would see it shrink from 137 stores today to 78 in two years’ time and 73 in 2022 – down from a UK network of more than 400 stores in 2007 shortly after it bought the Early Learning Centre chain.

Clive Whiley, Mothercare’s interim executive chairman, said: The recent financial performance of the business, impacted in particular by a large number of legacy loss-making stores within the UK estate, has resulted in an unsustainable situation for the Mothercare brand, meaning the group was in clear need of an appropriate resolution.

Shares leapt by 31% after the announcement.

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(c) Sky News 2018: Mothercare to close 50 stores in rescue plan