Maternity retailer Mothercare is to open in Iraq this year.

Its Middle East franchise partner Alshaya has signed a lease on a site in Arbil in the north of the country according to The Times.

The retailer joins French supermarket group Carrefour which will also open a store in Arbil.

Mothercare’s international sales soared 16.3% to £570.9m in its last financial year to March 26 and the retailer expects to grow overseas revenue by 15% to 20% in its current year. Last month it revealed it will debut in South America this year.

In contrast, the maternity specialist has suffered in the UK as its like-for-likes dropped 4% in its last financial year. Last month chief executive Ben Gordon revealed it is to close 110 UK high street stores in the face of rising rents and falling footfall.