Mothercare extends France's Okaidi in-store

Mothercare is to introduce French babywear brand Okaidi in 15 stores by Christmas following the success of a three-shop, 12-month trial.

Retail operations director Vince Gunn said: 'We were very pleased with the reaction and are now looking to put the brand into a significant number of stores by Christmas.'

Gunn said the brand offers an important point of difference for Mothercare, which has been trying to improve its babywear. 'This is Baby Gap styling at George prices,' he said.

Okaidi has one standalone store in the UK, in Milton Keynes, which it opened earlier this year. In Europe, it has 200 shops and is expanding at the rate of 30 to 40 stores a year in its French heartland. Okaidi also has shops in the Middle East, the Canary Islands and the Netherlands, and plans to have 300 stores by 2005.

- Mothercare may face more competition following the launch of Seraphine, an upmarket maternity and nursery retailer. The first shop has just opened on London's Kensington Church Street and the venture capital-backed business is aiming for 14 stores in five years, according to managing director Cecile Reinaud. 'It will be premium upmarket maternity and babywear and nursery products,' she said.