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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
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

Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

Guru Careers: In-House / Internal Recruiter

£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...

Recruitment Genius: Tax Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project