Mothercare has reported a rise in UK like-for-likes in its fourth quarter against improving conditions in its challenging international territories.

UK like-for-likes rose 4.5% in the 11 weeks to March 25 while total sales rose 3.2%.

Online sales rose 13.6% in the UK and now account for 41% of total sales.

The retailer’s international business has previously been challenging but many markets including China and Russia are now in growth.

Its key Middle Eastern market remains challenging however. International sales were down 1.7% in constant currency but up 15.4% in actual currency.

Healthy online sales

International online sales rocketed 64% in constant currency and 86% in actual currency. It now trades online in 21 territories.

Overall, worldwide sales rose 10.7% but total group sales, including franchises, tumbled 12.2%.

Chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said: “Following a solid final quarter, our overall Group performance remains broadly in line with market expectations for the year.

“In our international business, we have seen strong sales in China, Indonesia and Russia supported by currency tailwinds, whilst the continuing economic conditions in the Middle East remain challenging.

“We still see many opportunities in existing and new markets around the world that are open to us.

“We are firmly focused on our strategy to build our businesses both here in the UK and internationally and our vision remains clear: to be the leading global retailer for parents and young children.”