Mothercare has snapped up Blooming Marvellous for an undisclosed amount

Mothercare has snapped up Blooming Marvellous for an undisclosed amount

UK children's wear retailer Mothercare has this week snapped up maternity wear brand Blooming Marvellous, a move that analysts believe makes sense for both parties.

While increased cross-selling of both mother-to-be and baby items will strengthen Mothercare's mix, Blooming Marvellous will benefit from Mothercare's strong global network.

The price of the transaction has not been disclosed, but a spokesperson for Mothercare told just-style the group hopes to take the trendy maternity brand international.

Maureen Hinton, practice leader at independent retail analyst Verdict, believes Mothercare can turn its new brand around as part of a wider offer approach that has proved a success for rival Mamas and Papas.

She says: "Mothercare’s acquisition of the Blooming Marvellous brand and trademark is another good move by the retailer. 

"Blooming Marvellous is a strong brand name but its owners found it is hard to operate standalone maternity specialist stores and make a profit. 

"Though there is a baby boom and older mothers are willing to spend more on their much wanted children, maternity wear is only necessary for a short period of time and mothers-to-be do not buy lots of garments during this period so volumes are not high."

Global store network
Mothercare now has a wide-reaching global store network, operating its Mothercare and Early Learning Centre brands across 53 countries with 1,167 owned and franchised stores.

Indeed, global sales now represent more than half of Mothercare's total revenue, and soared 21.4% during fiscal last year.

The firm opened 119 new stores last year including the launch of Mothercare in Australia and Earle Learning Centre in South Africa.

It has invested significant resources in its sourcing and supply chain operations in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Bangalore, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. It has also gained sourcing synergies from its acquisition of the Early Learning Centre three years ago, including a sourcing office based in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, Mothercare is also in discussions to acquire a 25% stake in Headline Group Limited, which operates the Mothercare and Early Learning Centre franchises in Australia and New Zealand.

Wider product mix
Blooming Marvellous, meanwhile, was founded 25 years ago, and sells toys and nursery equipment together with clothing, consistent with Mothercare's product mix.

Mothercare will also look to bolster Blooming Marvellous' e-commerce presence, having seen its own direct sales grow at a similar rate to international last year.

Ben Gordon, Mothercare CEO, describes Blooming Marvellous as an "excellent strategic fit" as the company commits more stock to parents and parents-to-be.

Meanwhile, the firm has seen continued success for its international chain during the first quarter, with sales climbing 20.3%. However, a trading statement suggested that UK conditions remained challenging and that it would therefore plan cautiously for the remainder of this year.

Mothercare has spread its bets significantly in global retail, and now needs its new acquisition to have a similarly 'Blooming Marvellous' effect on product mix.