By Marcus Leach

Mothercare's plan to reduce their high street presence over the coming two years will see them close more than a quarter of their UK stores.

That bad news was further compounded by end of year figures released for 2010 as profits fell as a result of decreased sales, blamed partly on the bad weather last winter.

The company's pre-tax profits were down almost £9 million pounds from £32.5 million the previous year.

The company plans to close 110 stores by March 2013, and said it was fortunate to have 120 leases expiring over the next 24 months.

Company officials said it should benefit to the tune of £4 million to £5 million a year after tax from the store closures.

Marketing Director of BabyChild.org.uk, Andy Barr felt the news of closures was something of a shock to analysts, but not to parents.

"Whilst Mothercare's decision to reduce its high street presence is a huge shock to retail analysts it is no surprise to parents," he said.

"The store struggles to compete price wise with supermarkets who have gradually increased their parenting and baby ranges and the shopping experience and customer service does not compete against some of the higher quality chains such as Mamas and Papas.

“It is clear that Mothercare as a brand really is in a state of limbo with the parenting community.”