International outperforms UK stores
Mothercare's retail business suffered a slight dip in profit against last year, with international sales outperforming UK stores.

Profit for retail operations was down 3.2 per cent to£9 million for the 28 weeks to October 8. UK sales were up 1 per cent to£215.9 million for the same period. The international retail business, which grew more rapidly than the UK, increased sales by 17 per cent to£34.5 million. Overall pre-tax profit was up 4.6 per cent to£11.4 million.

Mothercare chief executive Ben Gordon (pictured) said: 'During the half, we have continued to consolidate the improvements made to the business over the past three years. We are now looking to grow the business with greater focus on our specialism, our efficiency, expanding our reach through our UK store portfolio, growing our Direct business and continuing international expansion.'

Private equity group Apax has denied speculation about a bid approach for the bibs-to-buggies retailer.