Mothercare upbeat despite fall in Q4 sales
Mother and baby products retailer Mothercare has posted a 4.8% fall in total group sales in its fourth quarter although the retailer said that underlying full-year pre-tax profit will be in line with the market expectations.
In the UK, Mothercare saw its total sales fall by 5.1% during the 11 weeks to 30 March with like-for-like sales remaining flat. Direct In Home sales, which includes online and catalogue sales, increased by 18.2%.
International sales climbed 15.5% despite being impacted by continuing weakness in the Eurozone. Sales in Russia, Mothercare’s largest market outside of the UK, have reached a new high of ÂGBP120 million this year, while sales in China are up 80% for the year.
During the quarter, Mothercare closed 14 stores, including four Mothercare and ten Early Learning Centres. The retailer said its UK store closure programme was ahead of plan, with 56 loss-making stores closed during the year.
Mothercare’s international business opened 115 stores and increased space by 13.5% during the year, meaning that Mothercare now operates from 1,069 stores across 60 countries,
Total group sales fell 6% in the 52 weeks to 30 March. While international retail sales increased by 11.8%, total UK sales fell by 9.2% and by 3.6% on a like-for-like basis.
Mothercare said that underlying profit before tax, to be released in the full year 2013 results, would be in line with market expectations.
Chief executive Simon Calver added: "We are just 12 months into our three-year Transformation and Growth plan and while we still have much to do, our business is already on a firmer footing.
"Matt Smith joined us as chief financial officer two weeks ago and I am pleased to say that our executive team is now complete. So despite our continuing caution with regards to the outlook for consumer spending in the UK and the Eurozone, we can look ahead to the new year with confidence."
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