Key Boom Board demand can't stop Mothercare dive

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The Independent Online

Shoppers snapped up Key Boom Boards from the Early Learning Centre this Christmas, but it wasn't enough to save owner Mothercare from another steep fall in sales.

The music station – which allows youngsters to sing, drum and DJ – was a rare success for the retailer, whose UK stores open for at least a year saw sales slide 5.9 per cent.

Mothercare signed up Jools Oliver to design the Little Bird clothing range last year but chief executive Simon Calver said the new season will see a bigger emphasis on value ranges.

Despite the sales slump, Mr Calver insists that his transformation plan is on track.

The group's UK business now operates from 269 stores compared with 311 a year ago as loss-making outlets are closed.

Mothercare is shifting focus abroad, where it now operates 1,129 stores throughout 61 countries and is aiming to grow retail space by around 15 per cent a year.

In contrast to the UK, the international business is growing sales at a double-digit pace, although stronger markets such as Russia and Turkey are dragged back by weaker sales in Europe. Online sales grew sluggishly, up by 0.9 per cent.