The chief executive of Mothercare has played down the boost the imminent arrival of a royal baby will have on its UK business, despite its plans to launch a range of clothing to mark the occasion.
Simon Calver said that the Duchess of Cambridge’s baby may lead to a “feelgood factor” and an “uptick” in the birth rate in nine months’ time, but added: “We don’t necessarily see a huge uptick in activity for our business.”
Ahead of its annual meeting today, he blamed weak consumer spending and heavy discounting on the High Street for a 0.9 per cent fall in UK underlying sales over the 15 weeks to July 13.
Calver, the former boss of DVD rental firm LoveFilm, said: “We expect it to continue to be tough. There are still a large number of people unemployed and the High Street is still struggling.”
Calver, who took the helm in April 2012, has embarked on a three-year programme to revitalise its ailing British business by ditching loss-making stores, cutting costs, sharpening up its pricing and growing online sales.
Lifted by new stores, Mothercare grew its international revenues by 11.3 per cent. The chain, which has franchise stores in 60 countries, is waiting for the “safe arrival” of the Duchess’s baby before launching a range of clothes, prams and undisclosed “fun” ideas.
Shares in the group today fell by 29p to 441p.
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
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies