Mothercare, the specialist children's products retailer and possibly the UK's most-exported brand, is set to make a formal entry into the Indian market.

The retailer has signed a franchise agreement with the K Raheja group to launch its products through Raheja's Shopper's Stop department stores and also through exclusive Mothercare outlets.

The plan projects about 40 outlets across the country over the next few years.

Mothercare products have long been available in India, typically imported from the middle-East through grey market channels. 

The brand can currently be found in retail outlets as diverse as grocery corner shops, through speciality stores for babies, to upmarket department stores.

A structured franchise arrangement will enable Mothercare to position its brand strongly in a market where the annual birth rate is often described "one Australia being added every year."

To support its expansion plans, both in the UK and globally, Mothercare has appointed Neil Harrington as group finance director. He will take up his post early in the New Year.

Harrington is currently finance director of George Clothing UK, and also chief financial and administration officer of Global George, responsible for setting up the Global George brand and running it on a day-to-day basis.