But UK like-for-like sales suffer after early Easter
Mothercare's UK sales have levelled in the 15 weeks to July 8, with a marginal increase of 0.1 per cent. However, the retailer's domestic business is lagging behind its international division, which grew sales by 30.7 per cent and now has more stores - run on a franchise basis - than the UK arm.

UK like-for-like sales for the maternity and baby products retailer fell 1.8 per cent during the period because last year's equivalent period was boosted by Easter. The poor trading was offset by marginal growth in the retailer's direct sales business.

The news came as Mothercare prepares to address shareholders at its AGM this morning. Chairman Ian Peacock said: 'UK business has traded resiliently in the difficult UK trading environment. Our international business has continued to grow strongly and has helped to offset the tougher trading conditions in the UK.'

Peacock noted that international sales have increased by 30.7 per cent. He said: 'We have opened 16 international stores during this period, taking the total to 236 - overtaking the number of UK stores for the first time.' Mothercare opened five stores in the UK over the period, taking its store count to 235 at home.

Shareholders will also be told about the latest stages in the retailer's conversion to a central distribution strategy. Peacock said 20 per cent of the retailer's sales value and 50 per cent of product cubic volume are now being distributed through its new central distribution centre. The next phase of the distribution relocation plan will take place in the autumn, with the final phases of the move due to be completed in the middle of next year.