Good Christmas at home and abroad
Bibs to buggies retailer Mothercare revealed a rise in sales over Christmas, after a good performance from its international stores.

UK like-for-like sales for the 13 weeks to January 6 were up 0.7 per cent. UK store sales increased by 1.4 per cent and total UK sales were up 2.3 per cent.

However, the group said that it continues to face pressure from costs, such as rent, staff and utilities.

Gross margins are expected to be in line with expectations and the group added that international sales for the 13 weeks had increased by 18 per cent.

Seymour Pierce analyst Richard Ratner said the group was performing 'bang in line with expectations'. He said: 'Despite the difficult trading environment, UK store like-for-likes over the important festive period were positive, while international expansion continues to be strong. As such, we keep our forecast for the year of£20.8 million unchanged.'

Mothercare chief executive Ben Gordon said: 'This is an encouraging performance. We have started our UK winter Sale in-line with plan and are managing our seasonal stocks well. International expansion continues, with a further 10 stores expected to open before year end.'