New Mothercare boss Simon Calver said it will take three years to turn around the troubled maternity specialist’s core UK business, which plunged into the red last year.

Cutting costs, reviving the UK business, accelerating international growth and developing multichannel operations are the foundations of the ‘turnaround and growth’ strategy.

Mothercare posted a group loss before tax and after exceptional and other items of £102.9m in the year to March 31, compared to a profit of £8.8m the year before. Group sales rose 2.4% to £812.7m. Group underlying profit fell to £1.6m from £28.5m.

In the core UK market, sales fell 4.6% to £560m and like-for-likes slid 6.2%. The UK made a loss of £24.7m compared to profit of £11.1m the previous year.

Calver said: “We have a long way to go, and the plan to bring the UK business back to acceptable levels of profitability will take three years.

“We need to invest in e-commerce, be ruthless with our non-store cost base and use our scale and growth worldwide to drive sourcing economies and pass these savings onto the customers to improve our value for money around the world.

“Everything we do will enhance customer value, experience and loyalty in each of our 59 countries. My team and I are up for the challenge and, whilst there is much to do in this difficult economic climate, I look forward to delivering the transformation and growth plan.”