Mothercare has posted stellar third-quarter results and expects profits for its full year to be near the top end of market expectations.
The retailer's group sales were up 61 per cent in the 13 weeks to January 11. These were up 3.4 per cent on a comparable basis, including the performance by the Early Learning Centre, which was acquired 29 weeks ago. In the year to date, group sales were up 35.5 per cent, or 4.3 per cent on a comparable basis.
Mothercare said that the integration of the Early Learning Centre is “progressing well” and that it is “pleased” with the performance of 21 stores that have opened within Mothercare stores over the peak period.
In the UK, like-for-like sales in the third quarter were up 3.4 per cent and total sales soared 68.3 per cent. Like-for-like UK store sales were up 2.5 per cent in the quarter.
The retailer’s UK figures include Mothercare Direct in Home sales, which rose 201.6 per cent, up 11.9 per cent on a comparable basis, in the third quarter.
Mothercare opened 66 overseas franchise stores in the year to date, giving the retailer a total of 483 stores in 48 countries. International sales in the third quarter were up 24.5 per cent.
Mothercare chief executive Ben Gordon said: “This is a strong performance for the newly enlarged Mothercare group over the Christmas trading period. The group is benefiting from our strategy of positioning Mothercare as the leading specialist brand for parents around the world. This is now strengthened by the Early Learning Centre, the integration of which is progressing well.
“In the UK, positive store sales growth was boosted by the strong online business and the International business continues to grow rapidly. While there remains a degree of caution about the UK consumer environment, we expect profits for the full financial year to be near the top end of analysts' expectations,” said Gordon.