Total sales for baby and mother products retailer Mothercare grew 4.9 per cent last quarter but its UK business continued to struggle, according to results published today.
In the 15 weeks to July 9th 2011, UK sales dropped 1.8 per cent in total and declined 4.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis compared to the same period last year.
Mothercare, which also owns the Early Learning Centre brand, has found its position on the UK high street impeded by supermarkets which are continuingly expanding their non-food offer, and earlier this year the business announced it was cutting 110 of its stores in this country.
Ian Peacock, Chairman of Mothercare, commented: “In the UK the trading environment remains difficult and competitive, however our property restructure and cost reduction programme are progressing well.
“As announced in May, we are targeting a more profitable portfolio of circa 266 UK stores by March 2013. The new store format trials have been well received by customers and the development of our new Mothercare web platform is on track.”
International trading was much stronger in the quarter, jumping 15.2 per cent in total year-on-year and 18.2 per cent at constant exchange rates.
Direct in Home, its online and catalogue channel, saw trading improve by two per cent over the period and the retailer is confident that the reshaping of the business will further help to boost performance.
Peacock added: “During the quarter we opened our 900th overseas store. Mothercare and the Early Learning Centre are both seeing strong growth in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.
“We are further developing our newest market, Latin America, and plan to open stores in Chile for the first time later this year.
“We are planning cautiously in the UK. However we are well placed to drive the performance of our two brands globally. This strategy will continue to create long term sustainable value for shareholders.”