Mothercare. It's always been one of those reliable, familiar presences on the high street, hasn't it? The place you walked past before you were even pregnant and pressed your nose up against the window to peer in at teeny velour baby suits and weeny little pram shoes (or perhaps that was just me). And then when you were pregnant, it was the place you wandered in to EVERY lunch-break to inhale that powdery baby smell and caress little Tigger suits and fluffy bear snowsuits (despite your partner having slapped a 'no ears' rule on baby clothes).
Anyway, perhaps down to too many people going in just to sniff the air or rub babygros against their faces, the chain is in turmoil, with rumours of hundred of jobs to go across a quarter of its stores.
The firm's Chief Executive Ben Gordon blamed the internet and huge out of town retail parks for changing people's shopping habits over the years, and admitted Mothercare no longer occupied the niche market it once did: 'People have changed the way they shop and we are just responding to that. When many of our stores opened there were no retail centres and certainly no internet.'
Which is understandable, but something of a shame: I can remember proudly skipping into Mothercare to be measured for my first maternity bra (fitter had AWFUL breath and I was almost sick, but it is still a fond memory - it made my pregnancy REAL) and although I too favoured the internet for almost all my baby shopping, it was still the store I turned to for real terry nappy squares (no one else sold them locally) and basics likes sleepsuits.
It would be a shame if another of our most iconic high street stores (like Woolies) disappeared for good, wouldn't it?
Do you have Mothercare memories?
Nosing around the shops pre-pregnancy? Caressing babygros? Share!
Or maybe you think they are just not a viable shopping option these days?