Growth spurt for Direct in Home
Baby and maternitywear chain Mothercare revealed like-for-like sales at UK stores slid 0.3 per cent in the 11 weeks to March 31, as it battled against a tough retail environment.

UK store sales were also down 1 per cent during the fourth quarter. However, like-for-like sales in UK stores were up 0.8 per cent, 1.6 per cent including the Direct business, and store sales rose 0.2 per cent for the 52 weeks to March 31. Total like-for-like sales were up 1.6 per cent for the year.

Direct in Home sales, including online and catalogue sales, were up 11 per cent in the fourth quarter and rose 15 per cent for the year.

The company said international sales increased 28 per cent for the 11 weeks to March 31 and rose 30 per cent for the year as a whole, driven by strong like-for-like sales and 62 store openings. The retailer has 328 overseas franchise stores.

Group sales rose 4.4 per cent during quarter four.

Mothercare chief executive Ben Gordon said: 'Mothercare has delivered a solid fourth-quarter and full-year sales performance, with sales growth of 5.1 per cent for the year despite a tough trading environment in the second half.'