Mothercare UK like-for-likes dipped 3.4%, but showed an improved sales trend, in the 28 weeks to October 13 as the retailer cut its underlying UK loss to £17m.

In the same period last year Mothercare racked up £18.5m underlying UK loss.

Total UK retail sales plunged 8.6% to £240m. The retailer said it was encouraged by the sales trend as it crept into UK like-for-like growth in its second quarter, following ten consecutive quarters of decline.

However, worldwide sales were up 2.1% at £636.8m, with international like-for-likes up 4.4%.Group underlying loss before tax was cut to £600,000 against £4.4m last year, however the retailer incurred a £26.8m exceptional charge

The maternity specialist said it had made “good progress” in its turnaround plans.

Mothercare chairman Alan Parker said: “These are early days and while there is much still to do, I remain confident that we are on track.”

Mothercare chief executive Simon Calver said his first six months at the retailer had been “challenging and exciting”.

He said: “We are starting to see the impact of our actions to ensure that Mothercare can deliver what our customers want - better value, choice and service. Our results show early signs of progress despite the challenging trading conditions in the UK and the Eurozone.”