Mothercare like-for-like sales down 0.9% in UK
Mothercare saw a 0.9% fall in its UK like-for-like sales in its first quarter as the mother and baby products retailer struggled against a very competitive market.
In the 15 weeks to 13 July, total UK sales dropped by 7.9% as the retailer closed loss-making stores although online and mail order sales posted an increase of 14.6%.
In a statement Mothercare said: “Whilst clothing sales and volumes have benefited from the launch of new ranges, especially the Value Essentials range in July last year, toys and home & travel in particular have been impacted by the increasingly promotional nature of the market."
In line with plan, the retailer closed a further 13 loss making UK stores in the period including four Mothercare and nine Early Learning Centres. The closures took the total number of UK stores to 242.
Mothercare, which is into the second year of a three-year transformation plan, saw its international retail sales increase by 14.1%, with all four of its regions delivering positive like-for-like sales and total sales growth during the quarter. The retailer grew its international stores space by 14% year-on-year and opened a net 47 new stores.
Across the group total sales dropped by 3.4% while worldwide network sales increased by 4.8%.
Simon Calver, Mothercare chief executive said: “We have made further progress against the goals of our Transformation and Growth plan. Overall worldwidenetwork sales growth remains positive. Our International markets have once again delivered double-digit sales growth, driven by both positive like-for-like sales and space growth.
"The UK is very promotional and our goal is to be price competitive whilst delivering cash margin. We have continued to improve the basics of value, service and availability for our customers. Our multi-channel focus continues with a solid performance from Direct in Home, supporting our UK like-for-like sales. Whilst we still have a way to go, I am encouraged by the improving positive feedback from our customers to the necessary changes in the UK, particularly to product innovation and new Clothing ranges, especially Value Essentials.
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