Mothercare shares plummet to 14-year low after significant half-year losses

The baby care chain's revenue take a hit after store closures across the UK and tough trading conditions in the Middle East

Kalyeena Makortoff
Thursday 23 November 2017 09:38
Mothercare is looking to slim down the total number of UK stores
Mothercare is looking to slim down the total number of UK stores

Retailer Mothercare's shares plunged more than 14 per cent on Monday morning to a 14-year low, after it warned over a "softening" UK market and reported widening half-year losses as it pushes on with turnaround efforts.

The baby care chain posted a pre-tax loss of £16.8m for the 28 weeks to October 7, marking a significantly larger loss than the £800,000 reported a year earlier.

It came as the company worked on the latest "phase" of its turnaround programme, having taken charges on property and restructuring costs.

Total revenues also took a hit, falling 2.4 per cent from £347.7m to £339.5m amid tough trading conditions in the Middle East and a transition programme that included store closures across its UK estate.

The company has been working to slim down the total number of UK stores to between 80 to 100 from 143, having shuttered 10 further locations over the past six months as part of those plans.

Mothercare instead turned attention to sales figures which showed a 2.5 per cent rise in UK sales on a like-for-like basis, yet cautioned over weaker trading on its home turf.

Chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said: "Towards the end of the reporting period, and in subsequent weeks, we have seen a softening in the UK market with lower footfall and spend which is consistent with recent industry reports."

"Not-withstanding this uncertain consumer backdrop, the Mothercare brand, whilst not immune, is in a stronger position with a much-improved product and service offer and a more robust business model."

Retailers have been concerned over weaker consumer confidence on the back of higher inflation which has surged to 3 per cent on the back of the Brexit-hit pound.

Mr Newton-Jones assured that Mothercare's transformation plans were "on track", highlighting a 5.3 per cent rise in online sales, which now account for 42 per cent of its overall UK sales, up from 40 per cent a year earlier.

Shopping via mobiles had also increased, making up 82 per cent of online sales.

"Across the business, we continue to invest and make progress, developing the Mothercare brand into a digitally led, global specialist," the chief executive said.


Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in