Mamas & Papas reported a rise in sales and profits in its last financial year as the maternity retailer opened new stores, improved multichannel operations and developed new products.
The Yorkshire-based company posted an EBITDA increase of £900,000 to £5.3m for the 12 months to March 31, 2013, according to figures submitted to Companies House. Sales at the group, which include wholesale and licensing as well as retail, rose 6% to £143m.
The company said its retail arm, M&P Retail, performed in line with expectations. Sales fell to £97.7m from £98.3m the year before. Gross profit fell from £39.7m to £35.7m.
Mamas & Papas deputy chief executive Tim Maule told Retail Week that he was pleased with the results given the difficult backdrop of the UK economy.
He said: “We’re delighted not just by the UK market where we held our own but also by the overseas market. We opened our first stores in China and we’re thrilled with the early results.
“If I had to say the two areas where we’ve seen the greatest success with the roll-out of the brand it’s been in Russia, where it’s going at a real pace, and our Middle East operation from a store perspective.”
Maule declined to share Christmas trading figures but said sales had met expectations.
Mamas & Papas will continue to focus on its existing strategy.
Maule said: “Mamas & Papas are a family business so we’re always able to take a long-term view. This year we plan to open stores, continue to invest in digital as we’re working through a big upgrade of the website, continue to invest in mobile technology, invest in stores and then additionally invest in products which are the lifeblood of our business.”
The company is in the initial stages of planning the revamp of its website, which is expected to go live early next year.
Maule said: “We’re starting by looking at the principles of how a mum today would like to shop online. Once we start listening to customers we will start to build in exactly what they want.
“Mums-to-be are not short of good ideas. Better photography, better zoom tools and real detail are all so important to new mums. They also want to be able to select in and out of detail if they want to.”
On the international front, the business plans to grow sales in all of its 59 markets. International sales jumped 15% in the last financial year.
The retailer began selling clothing for two to six year olds in the past year. “We launched this quite small in August and it has performed very well. We’re increasing this in our new spring collection.”
However, Maule does not expect the retailer to extend the clothing range to older age groups. “I never say never but we recognise our core market. When children grow older they influence what they want to wear as oppose to choices from mum and dad.”
Looking ahead, Maule said he was optimistic about the economy. “When I listen to the newscasts and the Government talking about the economy improving and signs of things getting better, I hope they are right for the whole of the retail industry. I see a better year ahead…we remain optimistic because we have got plan and a strategy in a place to allow us to make the best of the marketplace.”