Market Report: Mothercare struggles despite new arrival

It looks like it is going to take more than a buggy assault course and an in-store coffee shop to persuade the Square Mile that Mothercare is worth buying. The struggling baby products retailer recently launched a new-look store in an attempt to revive its fortunes, but it has not stopped the attacks from scribes in the City.

As well as an area to test buggies and prams plus a Costa Coffee, the north London shop – opened by the former pop star, now television personality, Myleene Klass – also provides ultrasound services and an area for activities such as yoga.

All of this impressed Panmure Gordon's Jean Roche, but not enough for the analyst to change her opinion that the stock should be sold. Saying that while "one could be tempted to upgrade the shares on the back of an attractive new store concept", she claimed if such an overhaul had been brought in a couple of years earlier then "this might have been enough to halt the brand's decline".

Ms Roche went on to slash her profit forecasts for the financial year by more than a fifth, highlighting increasing competition from rival retailer Kiddicare as well as supermarkets and websites. She also cast doubt over management's aims to return the UK business to profitability, saying there was "little chance" of this happening within the time frame targeted. Following the attack, and despite data showing retail sales last month were higher than expected, Mothercare closed 4.25p worse off at 210.75p on the small-cap index.

With the FTSE 100 creeping up a mere 1.47 points to 5,834.51, it continued to be a quiet week for dealing rooms as some turned their thoughts across the Atlantic. Recent reports claimed Apple has held talks with Twitter over buying a stake in the social network site, and the latest speculation doing the rounds revived the idea the world's largest company could be interested in attempting a full takeover – numbers bandied around value Twitter at more than $10bn (£6.3bn).

Comments from China's Premier Wen Jiabao over the state of the country's economy were being taken as bullish by those hoping for more stimulus action. This, unsurprisingly, was received well by the miners, as Kazakhmys and Vedanta Resources climbed 20p to 735p and 18p to 937.5p respectively.

Vodafone was among the blue-chip losers, diving 3.2p to 185.55p, as the mobile phone giant's Austrian peer, Telekom Austria, issued a profits warning, which it blamed partly on price wars.

Just before the bell it was revealed Kate Bostock, Marks & Spencer's former clothing boss, had cashed in around £876,000-worth of shares, about half of which were from a performance-related bonus, as the retailer advanced 5.7p to 360p.

There was a rush for the yellow metal producers following Canadian giant Barrick Gold's announcement that it has been talking with China National Gold over a potential sale of its 74 per cent stake in London-listed African Barrick Gold (ABG). With Liberum's Kate Craig suggesting that if a deal was struck she "would expect a 40 per cent premium", ABG charged up by 31.4p to 425p.

The company's peers were following in its footsteps, including Avocet Mining which ticked up 4.4p to 92.75p after Ms Craig claimed the West Africa-focused operator was among the "likely candidates for further M&A activity" in the sector.

Hikma announced it saw a 13 per cent jump in adjusted profits over the first half of the year, which pushed its shares up by 24.5p to 749.5p, with the performance of the pharmaceuticals group's injectables division particularly impressing.

Lonmin fell 47p to 648p as violence at its Marikana mine in South Africa continued to escalate. The platinum producer warned it looks set to miss output targets for the year and said it was monitoring "the additional pressure which the current disruption to production may put on its bank debt covenants".

Elsewhere, the revival of vague takeover speculation failed to prevent soft drinks maker Britvic creeping down by 0.6p to 311.7p, with traders sceptical over the chatter.

Down on Aim, property group Orchid Developments slumped 1.62p to 1.62p after admitting that it was "likely not to be able to operate as planned, unless additional capital is raised" as it said a recent disposal had not gone ahead as planned.

News
peopleChildren leave in tears as Santa is caught smoking and drinking
Arts and Entertainment
A host of big name acts recorded 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' in London on Saturday
musicCharity single tops chart
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Backshall has become the eighth celebrity to leave Strictly Come Dancing
tv
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly presenter returns to screens after Halloween accident
News
peopleFormer civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
News
i100
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Sport
Dwight Gayle (left) celebrates making it 1-1 with Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak
premier leagueReds falter to humbling defeat
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

Reach Volunteering: Trustee – PR& Marketing, Social Care, Commercial skills

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Age Concern Slough a...

Reach Volunteering: Charity Treasurer

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Crossroads Care is s...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000: SThree: We consistently strive to be ...

Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin