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Mothercare posts profit rise

Mothercare has reported strong sales and a 12.4% hike in profits to £24.8 million for the year ended March 28.

Mothercare said like-for-like sales rose 1.4% over the year and international like-for-likes were ahead 6%.

Total UK sales rose 6.9% to £723.6 million and pre-tax profits rose from £4.5m to £42.2m

Mothercare said that group profits had been buoyed by an increase in internet sales as well as its acquisition of the Early Learning Centre (ELC) in 2007. Last year’s profits were hit by costs attached to the integration of ELC into Mothercare but this process is now almost complete.

However, Mothercare’s chief executive Ben Gordon said that UK gross margin was under pressure due to the weakness of the sterling and that he was planning cautiously for 2009/2010.

Mothercare has 405 stores in the UK and 609 in the rest of the world, compared with 438 and 328 respectively last year.

The company also announced that it will increase its dividend by 20.8% to 4.5p.

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