Mothercare disappoints with first quarter results

Press Release   •   Jul 18, 2013 11:24 BST

Mother and baby retailer Mothercare disappointed with first quarter results after its transformation and growth plans were held back by worse UK numbers than expected.

A 7.9% slump in total UK sales in the 15 weeks to July 13th dragged total group sales down 3.4%, worse than the 3% analysts had pencilled in.

"Whilst clothing sales and volumes have benefited from the launch of new ranges, especially the Value Essentials range in July last year, toys and home & travel in particular have been impacted by the increasingly promotional nature of the market," Mothercare said

A total of 13 branches were closed during the 15 weeks to 13 July, leaving it with 192 Mothercare stores and 50 Early Learning Centre outlets.

Chief executive Simon Calver said: "The UK is very promotional and our goal is to be price competitive whilst delivering cash margin.

"However, trading conditions have been challenging both in the UK and across our Eurozone markets and are expected to remain so for the rest of the year."

Overseas, the company is booming, with worldwide network sales up 4.8% and international retail sales up 14.1%, or 11.3% in constant currency, despite the early timing of Ramadan.

Overseas store space was expanded 14% year-on-year, with the opening of a net 47 stores during the quarter to give the group 1,116 franchise stores across 60 countries.

Shares in Mothercare, which have more than doubled over the last year, closed Wednesday at 473.5 pence.

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