Mamas & Papas cut its pre-tax losses in its last financial year despite sales remaining flat as it invested in its plan to become one of the biggest global nursery brands in five years.
Despite sales at the maternity retailer remaining flat at £134.7m in the year to April 1, against £135.1m the previous year, Mamas & Papas deputy chief executive Tim Maule said he was “really pleased” with the performance in light of the extremely challenging UK high street.
Pre-tax losses were cut from £1.6m to £1.2m but EBITDA dipped from £5.4m to £4.4m.
Maule said: “We continued to make significant investments, above and beyond what’s in the accounts and reduced our debt by almost £11m.
“One of the positives of being a family-owned business is that we can take a long term view on the level of investment we make. We are confident that in the next five years we’ll be one of the biggest global brands in nursery and will have a seamless multichannel experience. We’re investing to make it happen.”
Maule said he expects the maternity specialist to grow both sales and profits in its current year.
Mamas & Papas invested “significantly” in its multichannel proposition according to Maule and launched a revamped click-and-collect service before Christmas which allows shoppers to see items available in the store they intend to pick-up from.
The retailer is also set to boost its US presence, where it is stocked within Toys R Us’ maternity fascia Babies R Us, by launching a transactional website in the country in the next couple of months.
Maule said it would offer the US customers the full range of Mamas & Papas products for the first time.
Overseas sales jumped 22% to £26.6m in its year to April 1. Since the year end the retailer has debuted in countries including Russia, South Africa and Lebanon and in December it launched a department store concession in China, where it plans to open 90 stores with franchisee Zero to Seven over the next five years.
However, it is eyeing further growth across Asia. Maule said: “We believe in the strength in the Asian market and think it’s crucial that we have a strong presence there. We’re in discussions with some potential partners to discuss how to take things forward in 2014.”
The maternity retailer exited its UK flagship store in November and is on the hunt for a new site in central London which has more space and parking facilities.