• Like-for-like sales increase 1%
  • Total UK sales up 0.6%
  • Total group sales up 1.8%

Mothercare has reported a return to growth in its third quarter as UK shoppers and online purchases drive sales despite a ‘mixed’ international performance.

The specialist retailer has reported a 1% rise in UK like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to January 7 as total UK sales increased 0.6%.

Online was a key driver of sales, up 5.5% during the period and comprising 40% of overall UK sales.

Overall group sales were up 1.8% during the period as Mothercare benefitted from currency tailwinds in its international estate, which saw sales rise 13% on an actual currency basis,.

However, the retailer’s international sales were down 6% in constant currency due to faltering sales in the Middle East.

Mothercare opened 40 new stores across internationally and closed 28, taking its overall estate to 1,351.

Chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said: “We maintained our focus on product improvement and full price sales while prudent stock management allowed us to enter the end-of-season-sale after peak trading with less stock than last year.

“International continues to benefit from currency tailwinds, however underlying performance continues to be mixed in spite of many markets returning to growth.

“We remain firmly focused on our strategy to build our businesses both here in the UK and internationally and our vision remains clear - to be the leading global retailer for parents and young children.”