Hundreds set to lose jobs as firms reveal trading conditions

HUNDREDS of UK workers were yesterday facing uncertainty over their jobs after two high profile businesses announced significant cuts.

Struggling retailer Mothercare said it would close another 111 UK stores over the next three years in a move predicted to hit 730 jobs.

Meanwhile, UK workers employed by Sony were waiting to hear if they would be affected by the announcement of 10,000 job losses worldwide, six per cent of the electronics giant’s global workforce.

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Mothercare, the mothers-to-be, babies and children’s group, revealed plans to cut the number of stores in the UK from 311 to 200, which will include 36 Mothercare sites and 75 Early Learning Centres, following months of weak trading.

The firm declined to say which stores would be hit, adding that they would close progressively over three years depending on leases and other factors.

The announcement came as the group revealed a further deterioration in UK like-for-like sales, which fell 9.5 per cent in the 12 weeks to March 31, compared with three per cent in the previous quarter.

Executive chairman Alan Parker said the changes would see the group transformed into a “lean, more competitive business”.

Mothercare closed 62 stores in the last financial year, three Mothercare outlets and 59 Early Learning Centres.

New Sony chief executive and president Kazuo Hirai outlined his business strategy in Tokyo as he pledged to revive the electronics and entertainment company.

The job cuts will affect staff working in businesses that are being sold, such as Sony’s chemicals division. Earlier this week Sony forecast a record annual loss of £4bn, double its previous estimate. The company employs about 450 people at a plant near Bridgend in South Wales.