Mothercare recovers locally despite mixed results abroad

Mothercare has recorded growth in domestic sales over Christmas but its international trading returned “mixed” results.

The maternity and babycare retailer reported a one per cent uptick in like-for-like sales in the UK over the 13 weeks to January 7, boosted by 5.5 per cent online sales growth, which also now accounts for 40 per cent of UK trade.

In total, Mothercare‘s UK sales was up by 0.6 per cent and its full-year margin forecast remained the same.

The growth comes after the chain experienced a 2.5 per cent drop in sales in its second quarter thanks to poor weather and a warehouse overhaul.

“The UK returned to growth following the challenging summer trading period,” chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said.

READ MORE: Mothercare descends into losses amid “challenging” conditions

“We maintained our focus on product improvement and full price sales while prudent stock management allowed us to enter the end-of-season sale after peak trading with less stock than last year.”

Overseas, the weak pound may have offset tougher trading and helped Mothercare‘s international sales grow by 13.2 per cent, but with the currency boost taken out international sales fell 5.9 per cent.

Sales recovered in its Chinese and Russian markets during the retailer‘s third quarter, but trading continued to be “challenging” in the Middle East.

“International continues to benefit from currency tailwinds, however underlying performance continues to be mixed in spite of many markets returning to growth,” Newton-Jones said.

Mothercare ended its latest quarter with 1351 stores in its portfolio, which factors in the opening of 40 and closure of 28 in this period.

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