MOTHERCARE has announced plans to put its UK retail business, which has 79 stores, into administration, putting hundreds of jobs at risk.

It is not know yet whether or not this means the Worcester branch will close down.

The children's retailer, which has 79 UK stores, said it will file a notice of intent to appoint administrators for the UK business later on Monday.

Mothercare UK slumped to a £36.9 million loss in the financial year to March, as it has struggled amid a period of turmoil for high street retailers.

The retailer, which has around 500 full-time staff and 2,000 part-time employees, is set to follow the likes of Bonmarche, Jack Wills and Karen Millen, which have gone bust in recent months.

The global Mothercare group said it has undertaken a review of the UK business and found that it is "not capable of returning to a level of structural profitability".

Richard Lim, chief executive officer at Retail Economics, said: "Years of under-investment in the online business and its inability to differentiate itself as a specialist for young families and expectant parents has been the root of its seemingly inevitable downfall.

"As competition has become fiercer they have been beaten on price, convenience and the overall customer experience.

"Put simply, they have been left behind in today's rapidly evolving market and the board has been unable to restructure the business fast enough to cope with a new retail paradigm that has emerged."

It said the business is therefore unable to satisfy the cash needs of the UK arm and is therefore filing the notice as part of the restructuring and refinancing process.

Mothercare added that the listed group remains profitable despite the problems facing its UK division.

Shares in the parent company dived by 29.2 per cent to 8p in early trading on Monday.

The firm was founded in 1961 by entrepreneurs Selim Zilkha and Sir James Goldsmith.

In 1986 it became part of the Storehouse Group after merging with homeware businesses Habitat and British Homestores.

In 2007 the firm purchased the Early Learning Centre chain of children's stores worth £85 million.

In recent years the business saw a steady decline in sales following the financial crisis, resulting in a number of profit warnings and a steady stream of store closures.

Last year Mothercare announced it had secured a restructuring deal which would lead to the closure of 50 stores and affect 800 jobs.

In the same year, it also announced a £32.5 million fundraiser to pay off its debts, as well as leasing off its head office for £14.5 million.

Earlier this year the company's sales were down 23.2 per cent for the 15 weeks to July.