Despite reporting falling like-for-likes and profits, the boss of Mothercare didn’t appear too rattled.

Speaking to Retail Week earlier today, Mark Newton-Jones dismissed the slide as typical of the challenging market and pinned poor UK sales on the weather – the most common excuse in retail.

He anticipates trade will gather steam as winter hits and his turnaround starts to bear fruit.

Pets at Home boss Ian Kellett was also in high spirits despite a modest interim performance that received a grisly reaction from some City analysts.

The retailer’s share price subsequently took a hit.

Kellett confessed that footfall has been softer over the last six weeks, but said it was “too soon to call it a trend”.

“We’re not big participants in the Black Friday noise that’s around at the moment,” he told Retail Week, adding that he was excited about the Christmas season that kicks off in earnest next week.

Elsewhere, many retailers will still be recovering from the blow of plans to raise the national living wage to £7.50 next April.

Lidl, though, has already pledged to pay its staff a whopping £8.45 per hour, and £9.75 in London, showing that some retailers feel they have nothing to fear.

Quote of the day

“We’ve hit bit of a bump on the road in the last six months but we fared a hell of a lot better than most”

Mothercare chief executive Mark Newton-Jones

Today in numbers


The turnover retailers in the West End are predicted to rake in tomorrow during Black Friday


The amount returns from Black Friday and Cyber Monday could cost the industry, according to software company Fabacus

Tomorrow’s agenda

Although some retailers started their Black Friday sales earlier this week, tomorrow brings the main event.

Retail Week will have reporters on the ground at Shop Direct and Curry’s PC World’s distribution centres, and monitoring the scene on London’s Oxford Street.

Emily Hardy, reporter