The uphill challenge faced by the new boss of Mothercare was underlined today as a dismal UK performance dragged the parenting retailer to a £103 million loss.
Presenting his first set of results, Simon Calver, who joined at the end of April, said he would be "ruthless" on costs as he rolls out a three-year turnaround plan.
The group saw like-for-like sales tumble 6.2% in the year to March 31 in the UK, where it plans to cut store numbers from 311 to 200 by 2015 in a bid to save £13 million a year.
A £55 million writedown on the value of the group's Early Learning Centre and nearly £10 million in UK restructuring costs triggered a bottom-line pre-tax loss of £102.9 million, compared with an £8.8 million profit the previous year.
Mr Calver, who came to Mothercare from internet movie rental firm Lovefilm, said: "We have a long way to go, and the plan to bring the UK business back to acceptable levels of profitability will take three years," he said.
"My team and I are up for the challenge and, whilst there is much to do in this difficult economic climate, I look forward to delivering the 'Transformation and Growth' plan. As a team, this will be our most important delivery yet."