Mothercare is to close 50 stores

Mothercare is expected to shut 50 shops within a year as part of a restructuring plan according to reports

The CVA route, which allows firms to avoid insolvency or administration, has already been taken this year by fellow United Kingdom retail strugglers - fashion chain New Look, floor coverings group Carpetright (CPRC.L) and department store group House of Fraser. One of the parties concerned, the Pension Protection Fund, has already said it will support the plans.

This is not the first time Mothercare has struggled, with the retailer closing nearly half of its stores across the United Kingdom in the last five years.

Mark Newton-Jones was sacked by the then chairman Alan Parker - who has himself subsequently stepped down.

The shake-up aimed at restoring the fortunes of the chain are likely to result in hundreds of job losses.

It is thought that David Wood, the former Tesco executive who had replaced Mr Newton-Woods, will shift to another position with the group, although it was not clear what this role would be this evening.

In addition to the proposed equity issue Mothercare has also secured revised committed debt facilities of 67.5 million pounds, 8 million pounds of new shareholder loans and a new facility of up to 10 million pounds from a trade partner.

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Mothercare, which has been trading since 1961, said it was facing a "perilous financial condition" and had identified a large number of loss-making stores. It has more than 1,000 stores overseas, many of them operated as franchises.

Since January, Toys R Us and Maplin have filed for administration while fashion retailers such as New Look and Select have embarked on radical store closure programmes.

A number of reasons have been cited for failures on the High Street, including a squeeze on consumers' income, the growth of online shopping and the rising costs of staff, rents and business rates.

Richard Lim, chief executive, Retail Economics said: "This is turning out to be a year of distress for the retail sector".

Others said shoppers were increasingly heading to value chains such as Primark for products which were of similar quality, adding the brand has become complacent.