Mothercare numbers rise

Firm announces its preliminary results for the full year, ended March 27th 2010.
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Group sales for the year were £766.4m, up 5.9 per cent, while underlying profit from operations before share based payments was £52 million, up 16.6 per cent, compared to £44.6m in 2009.

The firm reported a record year for international with total International sales at £490.9 million, up 21.4 per cent, with underlying profit from operations up 40.6 per cent.

During the period, Mothercare opened 119 new stores, bringing the total to 728 overseas stores in 51 countries.

The firm also launched Mothercare in Australia and ELC in South Africa and opened 50th store in Russia. The retailer currently has 32 stores in India and this is set to increase to 70 this year.

Overall, Mothercare saw a resilient performance in the UK with like-for-like sales up for a fourth consecutive year at a rise of three per cent.

There was also a continuing growth in Direct sales. Direct in Home sales for the year were £72.4m, up 16.3 per cent and Direct in Store sales at £54.4m, up 20.6 per cent. Total Direct sales were £126.8m, up 18.2 per cent.

Ben Gordon, chief executive, said: "Mothercare has had another strong year with our worldwide network sales exceeding £1 billion for the first time. International had a record year and we ended the year with a total of 1,115 stores worldwide in 52 countries.

"UK performance was robust with positive like-for-like sales growth for the fourth consecutive year, and our property restructure is on track. As a result of the excellent performance of the group, we have again recommended a significant increase in the dividend.

"The year finished with a more challenging consumer environment in the UK and strong growth in International. We expect this pattern to continue into 2010/11 and we are planning cautiously.

"However, overall we are well placed going forward, with our rapidly growing International platform, strong cash flow and debt free balance sheet."

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