Lacklustre UK bolstered by outperforming overseas
Baby and maternitywear chain Mothercare has revealed sales up 5.3 per cent for the 28 weeks to October 14. A slight slowdown in its UK market was offset by a booming sales overseas.

In a trading update the company said like-for-like sales in the UK had slowed to 1.4 per cent in the 13 weeks to October 14, but overall UK comparables for the half-year rose by 1.9 per cent.

The performance of its 300 overseas franchises - with sales growth of 28 per cent - boosted the overall group figures to 5.3 per cent growth.

Mothercare chief executive Ben Gordon said that the company's direct sales business had grown strongly and that UK like-for-like growth (1.9 per cent) was ahead of total sales growth (1.7 per cent) for the six-month period because of 'right-sizing' - or decreasing the size - of stores.

Gordon added: 'Our multichannel UK business has performed well in what remains a difficult trading environment. We continue to expand our brand globally with the opening of a further 34 stores overseas, including our first eight in India. We are pleased to have reached a milestone of 300 international stores with the opening today of our fourteenth store in Russia.'

The company said that it planned to open 50 stores by the end of the financial year and that it would report its full half-year results on November 16.