Mothercare reports 3 per cent sales decline

 

Under-pressure retailer Mothercare today announced another drop in UK sales as it continues to flounder at home but flourish abroad.

The mothers-to-be, babies and children's goods group, which runs around 350 stores in the UK, said that like-for-like sales in its domestic market were down by 3% in the 13 weeks to January 7.

The figure is better than the 7% decrease reported in August and included a 5% increase in December, although this performance was helped by comparisons with the cold snap the previous Christmas.

Total global sales were down by 1.2% despite a 3% increase in its worldwide network. Mothercare has 1,000 stores outside the UK.

Today's update comes after a depressing 2011 for the group, which saw it place its entire UK business under review after half year losses of more than £80 million and the departure of chief executive Ben Gordon.

Executive chairman Alan Parker said: "In the UK, the better like-for-like sales performance was achieved in an increasingly competitive consumer environment.

"Additional promotional activity was successful in driving a 5% like-for-like sales increase in December."

No further store closures are planned but Mr Parker, who is running the company following the exit of Mr Gordon, said that "nothing was ruled in or ruled out". He expects to complete the review in the current quarter.

Today's figures were better than expected, causing shares to rise 2%, but Freddie George, a retail analyst at Seymour Pierce stockbrokers, said much will hinge on the retail review being carried out by Mr Parker.

Mr George said: "While the work is yet to be done, from the early hints it seems the review will focus on improving the UK's value, service and digital proposition, plus cost cutting. We suspect the review may not be radical enough to differentiate the UK business from its peers.

"Competing on price is not an option, we feel, as its product categories have been commoditised by online and the supermarkets. Improving service is only part of the solution as we believe the UK business really needs to reinvent itself."

Founded by Iraqi-born entrepreneur Selim Zilkha, Mothercare's first store opened in Surrey in 1961 and was floated on the stock market in 1972.

Still one of the most recognised brands on the British high street, in recent times the group's presence in growth markets in Africa and the Middle East has seen its international business outperform its UK arm.

In recent months stores were opened for the first time in Chile, Colombia, Iraq and Morocco, bringing the total number outside the UK to 1,000.

PA

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test