Mothercare boss Mark Newton-Jones has revealed he rejected an approach from Debenhams to be considered as its new chief executive.

Newton-Jones told Retail Week today: “They [Debenhams] approached me and I said ‘no’.”

Mothercare’s chief executive had been rumoured as a possible contender for the top job at the department store chain, after current Debenhams boss Michael Sharp announced last year his plan to leave. 

But Newton-Jones, who spent 10 years at Shop Direct before joining Mothercare in March 2014, added: “I’m the chief executive of this business [Mothercare] and I want to finish the job.” His comments came as the specialist retailer reported its first full-year statutory profit in five years, as its UK business recovers.

Others who have been linked as possible candidates for Debenhams’ top job include former Target boss Stuart Machin, ex-Karen Millen chief Mike Shearwood and internal candidate Debenhams’ trading director Suzanne Harlow.

At Debenhams’ half-year results presentation last month, new chairman Sir Ian Cheshire said the shortlist of candidates was “less than four” strong and in its final stages. He added it included a mix of internal and external candidates.