Mothercare Plc (MTC), the children’s clothing retailer that said last week trading was “well below” forecasts, rose the most in three years in London trading after saying Chief Executive Officer Ben Gordon will step down.
Mothercare climbed 9.2 percent, the most since October 2008, to close at 210.2 pence. This gives the Watford, England- based company a market value of 186.3 million pounds ($291 million).
Gordon, who joined the company in December 2002, will step down on Nov. 17 by “mutual consent”, Mothercare said in a Regulatory News Service statement today. The management team will report to Chairman Alan Parker while the board seeks a replacement.
Mothercare, owner of 1,322 stores worldwide, plunged 42 percent after saying last week the second-half outlook had worsened and trading deteriorated in the preceding four weeks. U.K. revenue fell 6.4 percent in the 12 weeks ended Oct. 1, with sales in U.K. stores open at least a year declining 9.6 percent. Sales through the company’s website fell 6.9 percent.
“The market view is that while Ben was exceptionally good on the international front, the U.K. businesses have suffered in the last couple of years,” James Dilks-Hopper, a London-based analyst at Numis Securities, said in a telephone interview, “So investors are looking at the fact that a new CEO coming in is likely to put more emphasis on the U.K., and look to improve that. It’s the freshness of eyes that the investors are looking positively on.”
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