Mothercare sees UK sales growth while international numbers plummet

Shares in Mothercare have plummeted after the mother and baby goods retail chain witnessed a drop in footfall among its non-UK stores.

The retailer that boasts 170 stores in the UK and 1,310 overseas has revealed that sales fell in all four international regions in the 11 weeks to March 26th and that footfall was at its lowest in the Middle East and China.

Sales dropped 9.7 per cent measured at constant currencies and fell 10.8 per cent in actual currencies.

The slump in oil prices has been attributed to the reduction in consumer spend in the Middle East while weaker consumer confidence in China resulted in the sales dip for Mothercare in the region.

However and in the midst of its turnaround programme in the UK where it halved its losses in January, the retailer has fared better with like-for-like sales rising for the eighth quarter in a row.

Online sales saw a 5.6 per cent increase and now account for more than one third of Mothercare’s UK sales while total sales rose 0.8 per cent owing to improved margins made by scaling back on discounting.

Mothercare’s chief executive, Mark Newton-Jones said: “In the UK, we have delivered our eighth consecutive quarter of positive like-for-like sales growth, with a full year of improved margins.

“Almost 40 per cent of space is now in the new and much-improved format which, along with a revamped online offer, improved product and service, are being well received by our customers.

“In the year ahead, we expect to make further progress in the UK. However, our international markets are likely to remain challenging with the current trends in space, sales and currency continuing into the new financial year.”

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