Mothercare is to reduce toy prices to 2008 levels across its Early Learning Centre business to compete in the “uncertain and challenging” UK market.

Chief executive Ben Gordon said negotiations with suppliers in Asia had allowed it to readjust pricing to become more competitive.

Despite strong international growth, Mothercare’s UK sales and profits fell in the first half and the retailer is taking steps to strengthen its position.

The focus on toy pricing builds on Mothercare’s existing efforts to provide clothing value through good, better and best price architecture.

Gordon said the retailer would also consider new partnership opportunities following the successful launch of its Mini Club range with Boots. He would not reveal details of its performance but said he was “very happy” so far.

Gordon said the retailer’s cost-cutting property restructure, which has led to the closure of 20 smaller in-town stores this financial year and their replacement with out-of-town shops is ongoing.

“We’re not choosing to abandon the high-street, but we would be looking for rent reductions to stay,” said Gordon.

Mothercare reported interim group underlying profits up 22% to £12.2m in the first half on sales up 2.5% to £397.1m.