Mothercare UK has reported widening losses in the first half of the financial year, starkly highlighting the issues which led to its being placed into administration in November. 

For the 28-week period to October 12, 2019, Mothercare UK reported statutory group losses before taxation from continuing operations of £21.2m, deepening from £18.5m for the same period in the 2018/2019 financial year.

Adjusted international profit before taxation fell to £12.2m, while net debt spiralled to £24.5m, from just £6.9m on March 30, 2019.

Mothercare’s worldwide sales also took an 8.4% hit to £452.3m, but the retailer said its international business was “showing growth in a number of key markets” offset by the Middle East – namely India, Indonesia and Russia.

The Mothercare UK brand was placed into administration on November 5, 2019. In the results, boss Mark Newton-Jones said the period had been “extraordinarily challenging”.

“This has been an extraordinarily challenging period in Mothercare’s 58-year history, particularly for our committed, hard-working colleagues who have worked tirelessly to sustain our UK retail operation. It was simply not financially viable to maintain the UK store estate and supporting infrastructure any longer without putting the whole Mothercare Group at risk

“Whilst this was a very difficult decision and one we didn’t take lightly, it completes the transformation of our group into a capital-light, cash-generative and profitable business and, importantly, protects all of the pensioners of the group.

“We are confident in the future of the Mothercare brand. We believe that, without the financial and management burden of running a UK retail operation, we can singularly focus Mothercare on its global international franchise. This opportunity for this business is best demonstrated by the fact that there are 130 million babies born every year across the world, compared to 700,000 in the UK‎, and the Group will now look to drive value for shareholders by harnessing that potential.”