Mothercare sees slight improvement at home and abroad in Q4

UK like for like sales and margins in line with expectations for the quarter, says retailer.
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Mothercare has this morning reported some improvement in trading for both its international and UK operations in the fourth quarter.

Group reported sales for the 12 weeks to March 29th were up 0.6 per cent - although worldwide network sales were down 2.5 per cent.

In the UK, both like for like and Direct in Home sales have improved since Q3, with the retailer expecting full year FY2014 underlying profit to be in line with current market forecasts.

"After a difficult Q3, it is encouraging to note that we have seen some improvement in trading for both international and the UK," commented Alan Parker, Mothercare's chairman.

"International has continued to increase space and constant currency sales growth is stronger than the previous quarter, with positive like for likes. However, the pace of currency devaluation, as highlighted in January, has increased with all four regions impacted. This adverse currency impact is expected to persist into next year. Nevertheless, our franchise partners continue to see opportunity and their business plans confirm double digit space growth."

Parker continued: "In the UK we have continued to close loss making stores and focus on a lean retail operation. We are increasingly moving to a multi-channel business with 29 per cent of the sales mix, up from 25 per cent in the previous year, attributable to our Direct business.

"UK like for like sales and margins are in line with expectations for the quarter, despite continued pricing pressure in Home and Travel.

"We remain profitable at Group level and are focused on eliminating UK losses whilst also continuing to exploit our growth potential across our international markets."

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