Global expansion and UK restructuring delivers strong results for Mothercare
Group performance sales, worldwide network (total UK sales plus International retail and wholesale sales) in the first quarter were up 8 per cent. International retail sales were up 20.3 per cent although UK sales were down 2.6 per cent. UK like-for-likes were down 4.1 per cent.
Ian Peacock, Chairman said:"Our strategy of focusing on the global expansion of the Mothercare and Early Learning Centre brands, whilst restructuring the UK business through our property strategy, continues to deliver results.
"We have once again seen strong growth in International. In the UK the environment remained challenging, and we were trading against strong first quarter comparatives of +5.1 per cent last year. Direct delivered double-digit sales growth, reinforced by the recent launch of a new website for the Early Learning Centre. Our new Wholesale channel will be boosted by the partnership with Boots announced in February. We have also today announced the acquisition of the Blooming Marvellous brand and trademark.
"International has seen particularly strong growth in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australasia. At the end of the first quarter we had opened 56 new stores overseas, increasing overseas retail space by 6.2 per cent.
"In the UK we continue to plan cautiously for the remainder of this year. In this context, we expect to invest further margin in our customer offer which will be offset, in part, by cost savings and our property restructure. Despite the uncertain UK consumer environment we remain well placed to deliver on our global strategy."
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