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Mothercare reduces UK losses in H1

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Parent & child products retailer Mothercare has today reported a reduction in losses as its like-for-like (LFL) sales decline has halved within a year.

In the 28 weeks to October 13th 2012, UK LFLs slipped 3.4 per cent as UK retail sales fell 8.6 per cent to £240 million, though the retailer’s ongoing focus on restructuring its store portfolio and management team has had a positive effect overall.

International LFL sales rose 4.4 per cent over the period while international retail sales jumped 10.8 per cent and worldwide sales grew 2.1 per cent to £636.8 million over the period.

Mothercare’s underlying UK loss has been reduced to £17 million, down 8.1 per cent on last year while its gross underlying loss before tax has been reduced from £4.4 million over the same period in 2011 to £0.6 million.

Simon Calver, CEO of Mothercare who joined the specialist company earlier this year, said that the retailer is on track with its transformation strategy.

“My first six months as CEO have been both challenging and exciting,” he said.

“We are starting to see the impact of our actions to ensure that Mothercare can deliver what our customers want – better value, choice and service.

“Our results show early signs of progress despite the challenging trading conditions in the UK and the Eurozone.

“International profits have grown by 20 per cent, while the like-for-like sales trend in the UK has improved and losses have reduced.

“Ahead of our peak trading period over Christmas, we are working hard to serve our customers better and focusing on the delivery of our plan.”

Mothercare has also announced the appointment of current Argos Finance Director Matt Smith, who will soon operate as its Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director on a date which is yet to be confirmed.

Having spent a decade at Home Retail Group across financial, supply chain and IT roles as well as having worked at KPMG as Director of its corporate finance department, it is hoped that Smith’s sound knowledge of both finance and multichannel operations will aid the retailer as it seeks to strengthen its position.

Calver said of the news: “I am delighted that Matt Smith is joining Mothercare as its Chief Financial Officer.

“Matt’s experience working for a multi-billion pound UK retailer, and his understanding of multichannel development, will provide the company with the financial and commercial expertise that it requires to deliver our transformation and growth plan, and to grow the business both in the UK and internationally.”

Argos recently announced plans to close a number of stores as it undergoes modernisation and builds its online presence and it is hoped that Smith’s understanding of the flourishing e-commerce market will help improve Mothercare’s sales further.

Smith commented: “I am excited to be joining Mothercare plc at this critical time in its transformation plan, and look forward to working closely with Simon, the executive management and the Board of the Company.

“I believe in the huge potential for Mothercare to grow globally, and in the opportunities for the business to deliver more to its customers in the UK.”

Published on Thursday 22 November by Editorial Assistant

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