Mothercare like for likes fell in its fourth quarter but the retailer hailed “significant strategic progress and full-year profit in line with market expectations”.

UK like for likes fell 8.8% in the 12 weeks to March 30, though the rate of decrease fell. Over the past year, comparative sales fell 10.8%. Total sales fell 14.5%.

Overseas, international sales fell 4.9% in constant currency, or 4.5% in actual currencies.

At a group level, sells were down 8.8%, or 13.9% when the cost of franchise partners was taken into account.

The business closed 40 stores over the past three months as its estate shrank 30% from 137 stores to 80.

It sold the Early Learning Centre to The Entertainer for £13.5m in March and said it was on track to deliver at least £19m cost savings annually.

Chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said: “We have continued to make significant progress in our final quarter as we continue our strategic transformation to deliver a sustainable and profitable future for Mothercare.

“The disruption we have seen from both the organisational changes and the UK store closures is now largely behind us. We expect a continued impact on our business given the volume of clearance stock we have sold in recent months. Against this background, we remain on track to deliver on our full-year expectations.

“Looking ahead, we expect market conditions in the UK and in some international markets to remain challenging. We enter the new financial year in a more robust position as a restructured business fit for the future and with reduced levels of debt. We have a significantly smaller UK store estate and our international operations remain cash generative. We look forward to the new financial year and to delivering the next phase of our strategic transformation plan.”