Mothercare has posted a rise in UK like-for-like sales and a surge in international revenues during its first quarter.

Comparable store sales at the core UK business advanced 1 per cent in the 15 weeks to July 11, while international franchisees recorded a 9 per cent rise in like-for-likes.

Group turnover climbed 20.7 per cent, but only 0.8 per cent on a pro-forma basis, treating Early Learning Centre – acquired in June last year – as if it had been owned for the entire first quarter this year and last.

Total UK sales rocketed 19.5 per cent. They fell 1.3 per cent, however, taking into account the retailer’s space reduction programme.

Sales by international franchisees, which run 526 stores in 49 countries, soared 50.4 per cent and 35.7 per cent pro-forma.

The retailer’s Direct in Home business notched up sales growth of 77.7 per cent, or 27.5 per cent pro-forma.

Mothercare chairman Ian Peacock hailed the performance as reflective of the strength of the eponymous and Early Learning Centre brands.

He said: “The multichannel UK business has shown resilience in a slow economic environment, strengthened by the Direct operations.

“The integration of Early Learning Centre and the reshaping of the combined property portfolio are both progressing well. The international business goes from strength to strength.”

Mothercare opened its first store in China during the quarter.