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Mothercare UK sales down 8.8% in fourth quarter

Mothercare has posted an 8.8% drop in UK like-for-like sales in its fourth quarter to mark an improvement on the previous period when like-for-likes fell by 11.4%.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Mothercare UK sales down 8.8% in fourth quarter

Mothercare has posted an 8.8% drop in UK like-for-like sales in its fourth quarter to mark an improvement on the previous period when like-for-likes fell by 11.4%.

The retailer attributed the better UK performance to clearance activity in closure stores as it worked to “right-size” its UK portfolio as part of its transformation plan. Mothercare said its store closure programe has been completed ahead of schedule and that it now has 80 stores in operation, down from 137 stores a year ago. 

International sales fell by 4.9% on a constant curency basis as the retailer battled against economic and trading challenges in the Middle East, although it experienced growth in its core markets of Russia, India and Indonesia.

During the period, Mothercare sold its Early Learning Centre business to The Entertainer for £13.5 million, which helped to further reduce its debt levels as it works to be bank debt free by the end of 2019.

Mark Newton-Jones, chief executive of Mothercare, said: “We have continued to make significant progress in our final quarter as we continue our strategic transformation to deliver a sustainable and profitable future for Mothercare.” 

Mothercare said it remains on track to deliver on its full year expectations, although its store closure programme will have a continued impact on the business due to the volume of clearance stock it has sold in recent months.  

Looking ahead, Newton-Jones said: “We expect market conditions in the UK and in some international markets to remain challenging. We enter the new financial year in a more robust position as a restructured business fit for the future and with reduced levels of debt. We have a significantly smaller UK store estate and our International operations remain cash generative. We look forward to the new financial year and to delivering the next phase of our strategic transformation plan.”

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