Mothercare is once again rumoured to be holding talks about selling off its struggling Early Learning Centre (ELC) brand.
The Sunday Times has reported investment bank Lazard is believed to be advising Mothercare on a potential sale of ELC after the latter’s poor performance over Christmas dragged the group’s sales down.
Simon Calver, chief executive at Mothercare, said during results on 8 January that a weak toy market over Christmas and the decision not to repeat a free delivery offer hit elc.co.uk sales.
A potential sell off of ELC by Mothercare has been mooted previously, with Sky News reporting in July that Mothercare had entered talks with advisers about a sale.
The two brands have been part of the same group for seven years after Mothercare paid £85m for the toy retailer.
Tesco is also reported to be considering a takeover bid for Mothercare and examined an acquisition six months ago.
Tesco's potential purchase of Mothercare would help it take on rival Morrisons, which acquired baby product retailer Kiddicare for £70m in 2011.
The toy seller was primarily an online-only retailer when acquired by Morrisons, but the supermarket chain has begun rolling out additional Kiddicare-branded brick and mortar stores.
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