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Foreign hopes lift spirits at Mothercare

The promise of overseas riches cheered up investors in Mothercare yesterday after the company posted yet another loss.

The struggling baby goods retailer, which stocks Jools Oliver's Little Birds clothing range, showed signs of improvement as losses narrowed to £600,000 during the six months ending 13 October, compared with £4.4m a year earlier.

Shares in the company rose 11p to 303p after it said it had cut prices, improved its delivery service and closed 31 stores.

UK like-for-like sales fell 3.4 per cent, compared to a 7 per cent fall a year earlier. However, across the rest of the world, sales rose 4.4 per cent.

The company plans to open 150 stores in China, India, the Middle East and Latin America.

Simon Calver, Mothercare's chief executive, said: "My first six months as CEO have been both challenging and exciting. Our results show early signs of progress despite the challenging trading conditions in the UK and the eurozone.

"Ahead of our peak trading period over Christmas, we are working hard to serve our customers better and focusing on the delivery of our plan."