- UK like-for-likes up 2.1%
- Online now accounts for 35% of total UK sales
- International retail sales slide 10.8%
Mothercare has reported a sales improvement at its core UK business but overseas trading has been challenging.
The maternity specialist posted a 2.1% rise in UK like-for-likes in the fourth quarter, “with support from online sales which were up 5.6%”.
However, international retail sales at actual currency fell 10.8% as economic and exchange rate impacts took a toll.
Total UK sales inched up 0.8%, despite Mothercare reducing space by 6.4% year on year. Online accounted for 35% of the UK total, up from 30% last year.
Mothercare chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said that group underlying profit for the year was “within the range of market expectations”.
He said: “The UK is responding well to our strategy with continued sales growth and improved margins.
“In the UK we have delivered our eighth consecutive quarter of positive like-for-like sales growth with a full year of improved margins.
“Almost 40% of space is now in the new and much improved format which, along with a revamped online offer, improved product and service, is being well received by our customers.
“International continues to be adversely affected by the sustained economic and currency headwinds.
“While all four regions [in which Mothercare operates] are softer, the Middle East and China in particular have been impacted by weaker consumer confidence.
“Along with our partners, we continue to see opportunity to grow space and are now translating key learnings from modernising the UK into our international markets.
“In the year ahead, we expect to make further progress in the UK. However, our international markets are likely to remain challenging with the current trends in space, sales and currency continuing into the new financial year.”