Mother and baby specialist Mothercare aims to expand into South America as it ramps up its international operations.
Mothercare chief executive Ben Gordon said: “We’re in all the BRIC [Brazil, Russia, India and China] countries apart from Brazil. We’re looking into South America now.”
Gordon also revealed he would consider entering North America using a franchise model. He said: “We’ve got an online presence there. We would certainly look into it.”
International growth is critical to Mothercare as its UK operation struggles. The maternity specialist issued a profit warning after UK like-for-likes fell 5.8% in the third quarter.
Mothercare’s overseas sales are expected to outstrip UK sales for the first time when it reveals full-year results next week.
Retail Week Knowledge Bank director Robert Clark said opening in Brazil was the next logical step
for Mothercare. He said: “It has really created an international name for itself in a relatively short time. It’s clear it is an internationally acceptable format.
“Brazil is a significant opportunity - it was going to move there sooner or later. This is another big piece in Mothercare’s international jigsaw.”
The retailer plans to double its international sales by 2014 and plans to open 150 overseas stores a year from 2011. It expects overseas network sales to top £1bn by 2014.
Mothercare has highlighted India, China, Russia, Australia and the Middle East as prime locations for expansion. Gordon said that, as the international business grows, he would consider centring Mothercare’s distribution operations in the Far East.
He said: “In five to 10 years, international will be the much larger part of the business. We will evolve our supply chain. We may hold UK product in the Far East.”