Mothercare is to take a stake 25% in Headline Group, which holds the Mothercare and Early Learning Centre franchises in Australia and New Zealand.

The investment is to provide Headline with the resources to accelerate expansion of the brands in both countries, Mothercare said.

Mothercare will take the holding via convertible loan notes worth £7.2m, which will convert to Headline shares. The deal is subject to due diligence and agreement of final documentation.

International operations are becoming ever more important for Mothercare, which has 1,167 shops in 53 countries.

Yesterday Mothercare reported that international retail sales rose 20.3% in its first quarter, while UK sales slid 2.6%. The retailer also revealed it had bought the Blooming Marvellous brand.