• UK like-for-likes up 4.2%
  • Online sales increase 11.8% and represented a third of total UK sales
  • Gross margin preserved ‘despite the unseasonably warm weather which led to a deeper end-of-season Sale’

Mothercare UK like-for-likes jumped 4.2% in the 13 weeks to January 9 powered by online growth.

Online sales were up 11.8% in the quarter and now represent a third of total UK sales.

Mothercare said it protected margins over the festive period despite the promotional market after the warm weather.

Total sales in the UK were flat, as online and like-for-like growth offset store closures.

International retail sales were down 1.3% in constant currency and down 9.5% in actual currency, “reflecting the previously highlighted and ongoing economic and currency headwinds”.

Mothercare chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said: “Overall group performance remains in line with market expectations, with our UK performance further improving and international continuing to be challenging.”

“In the UK we have delivered healthy like-for-like sale growth, helped by a strong online performance. We maintained our full-price approach and entered the end-of-season Sale after peak trading, albeit with higher stock levels as a result of the unseasonably warmer weather. Margins have been preserved and remain within our guidance for the full year.

“With our international partners we continue to modernise our business using lessons learnt from the UK and continue to lay down space for the future. However, sales are down as we face ongoing economic and currency headwinds.

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

Mothercare operates 172 stores in the UK and 1,322 overseas.