Sleepless nights for Mothercare as sales fall again

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Close to £80m was wiped off the value of Mothercare yesterday as the retailer warned that UK sales had plunged – and that the outlook was not going to improve leading into the festive season.

In its third profits warning this year, Mothercare said like-for-like sales in its UK stores over the past 12 weeks had fallen by nearly 10 per cent. Thedecline appears to be accelerating: in the retailer's first six trading months sales were down by 6.8 per cent, excluding new store openings.

Larger, more expensive items, have been particular casualties, the retailer said, adding that it had also suffered badly during August's riots in London and elsewhere. Sales dropped by a fifth in that week alone.