Mothercare UK like-for-likes dropped 6.7% in its first quarter, which chairman Alan Parker said was in line with its expectations.

Total group sales fell 4.4% and total UK sales tumbled 10.2% in the 15 weeks to July 14.

Its international business continued to grow and was up 11% over the period. The Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions “performing particularly well”. The retailer said its European business had a weaker quarter and suffered a slight decline in sales.

Parker said the retailer expects its turnaround strategy to start to bear fruit in the second half.

He said: “The quarter ended with a clean stock position and our cashflows have been tightly controlled. We remain confident about the delivery of our three-year transformation and growth plan with the cost reduction programme on track.”

Online sales plunged 7.1% over the period. Parker said: “We moved our Mothercare website to a new platform in May and, whilst this resulted in significant disruption during the transfer process, recent performance has been very encouraging with positive sales growth in the last five weeks.”

Online is now understood to be experiencing double digit growth.

Singer Capital Markets analyst Matthew McEachran said: “These figures are reassuring with an improvement now visible in the UK and with strong
international growth outside the Eurozone. Given these figures we do not envisage any changes being made to forecasts and the initial signs of recovery in the UK should be viewed positively.”

The retailer closed 16 UK stores over the period as part of its store closure programme which will involve shuttering 110 UK stores.