Shocking but inevitable news filtered down today on the final closure of Mothercare and its 14 stores across Ireland with the loss of 197 jobs.
The troubled family owned business, which had been struggling financially for several years, closing its 79 UK branches in 2019, has finally succumbed to Covid pressure.
Mothercare Ireland was started here in 1998 as a one stop baby shop, supplying Maternity wear, cots prams and other pregnancy goodies required by the mummy to be. It became a household name and even recently had invested in its website and warehouse operations, but despite this was badly hit when its stores were forced to close in March.
MD Jonathan Ward said the impact of Covid-19 on the business has been unprecedented. He said it became clear that sales were going to continue to be seriously impacted in the short term with social distancing measures required and in the longer term as consumer habits change. In a statement, Mr Ward said the company had already experienced issues with its supply chain this year and “when we factor the Covid-19 impact on top of this we are forecasting substantial losses this year alone”. “Unfortunately our business is no longer sustainable as it will continue to make losses into the future,” he added.
Sad news indeed as this well established Maternity shop becomes just another statistic to add to the long list of business closures across Ireland. While the Covid 19 impact on ALL businesses across the globe is evident, it was, for some, the final nail in the already struggling coffin. So what’s happening to our retail sector here in Ireland ? Where are shoppers going for their maternity wear and pregnancy clothes or Nursing bras? Why online of course!
Irish people are among the largest online shoppers in the world and growing .. fact! And while we love to Amazon, Asos and Bohoo from the comfort of our own homes, these online retail giants give nothing back to our local communities or even the Country. Irish consumers spent 1.9 billion last year shopping online (imagine what just some of that money could do for small local enterprises). A massive sum of money, mostly leaving Ireland, to support the Amazon, Asos and Bohoo online types that don’t pay a penny in taxes here, don’t support the local economy and don’t, nor won’t ever, provide much need employment. Your money simply leaves the country and stays gone.
Why should we care ? Well ask the 197 people who worked for Mothercare why. Job losses, vacant premises in desolated towns and Cities, lowered footfall for other businesses to name but a few.
Mothercare operated 14 stores across Cork, Drogheda, Dublin, Dundalk, Galway, Limerick, Newbridge, Portlaoise, Sligo and Tralee. You will notice that they are gone when you walk past the empty shop units in your town, when you are looking for a little part time summer job or maybe full time employment, or when you need that maternity bra that actually fits, today.
And its not just Mothercare! Debenhams closed its 11 Irish stores in April, costing between 1,200 and 2,000 jobs. That’s the full time working mum or dad paying a mortgage or the part time working student going through college. All these Irish working citizens lives altered.
So when you think about buying your next Maternity dress online on Bohoo, Asos , Amazon or where ever u shop online, spare a thought for your hard working local businesses. There you will receive a warm welcome, professional helpful service, a good quality product and a simple free returns policy. All simply from shopping local ( or at least in the country). We are after all about to enter another recession and, lets be honest here, Ireland and Irish businesses will need all the support they can get. Support Irish Jobs, Support your economy, Support our future.
So Give it a try. Who knows, you might actually like it!
On that note we here at Maternity and More in Longford would like to thank all the support we received during our pandemic closure, and are delighted to have opened our busy doors on Monday X