Mothercare issues profit warning after UK sales fall
Mother and baby products retailer has warned that its full-year profits are likely to fall below expectations after UK like-for-like sales dropped by 4% in the 12 weeks to 4 January.
Worldwide network sales were down 4.4% in the period while group sales fell by 6.1%
The retailer said its UK sales had been impacted by a high level of promotional activity and lower seasonal footfall during the Christmas trading period.
Mothercare chief executive Simon Calver said: "Difficult UK retail trading conditions and volatility in some of our international markets resulted in weaker than expected worldwide network sales this quarter.
"In the UK, our stores suffered similar Christmas trading pressures to those reported elsewhere. Customer service scores continue to improve year on year but weaker footfall and higher promotional activity led to lower sales and margins.”
Mothercare said its international business had been negatively impacted by currency deflation, weaker than expected economic conditions and unseasonal weather in some of its key markets such as Russia and the Middle East.
The retailer’s Direct at Home edged down 1% in the period following the decision not to repeat last year's free delivery offer. However, online sales via mothercare.com rose by over 15% as click and collect sales continued to perform well.
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