Mothercare reports slow Christmas trading period

In the UK, sales have dropped 9.9 per cent over the period
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Mothercare plc experienced a slow Christmas trading period, according to its latest results, covering the 12 week period to January 4th 2014.

The firm's worldwide network sales were down 4.4 per cent with Group reported sales down 6.1 per cent.

Internationally, the firm has highlighted that currency deflation and weaker economic conditions in key markets has resulted in lower royalty revenues.

In the UK, sales have dropped 9.9 per cent over the period, a result the firm claims of the 'highly promotional nature of the Christmas period and lower seasonal footfall.'

Despite the company's decision not to repeat its free delivery service this last Christmas season, the firm's UK like for like sales dropped four per cent.

Mothercare plc is now remaining cautious about the out the outlook for consumer spending for the rest of the year, with full year profit expectations now below the current range of market forecasts.

Simon Calver, chief executive of Mothercare plc, said: "Difficult UK retailer trading conditions and volatility in some of our international markets resulted in weaker than expected worldwide network sales this quarter.

"In the UK, our stores suffered similar Christmas trading pressures to those reported elsewhere. Customer service scores continue to improve year on year but weaker footfall and higher promotional activity led to lower sales and margins.

"Our focus on multichannel has helped mother care.com to perform well with sales through this channel up over 15 per cent and click and collect continues to perform well.

"However, our decision not to repeat last year's free delivery offer combined with a weak toy market impacted elc.co.uk sales, which resulted in Direct in Home experiencing a reduction during the quarter."

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