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Mothercare delays end-of-season Sale to boost margins

Mothercare has reported UK like-for-like sales increased by 1.3%, but international retail sales fell by 4.8% in actual currencies in the 15 weeks to July 11.

The baby and kidswear retailer said total UK sales fell by 0.9%, with space reduced by 5.3% compared with the same period last year. The retailer now trades from 180 stores and 1.64m sq ft of retail space.

Online sales in the UK were up by 24% during the 15 week period.

“Our strategy in the UK is continuing to deliver results,” said chief executive Mark Newton-Jones. “We have delayed the end of season Sale to take advantage of well controlled stock and the warm weather to sell more at full price. As a result margins are improving without adversely affecting like-for-like sales.

“Online has also benefited from lower discounts and promotions with the additional benefit of improved functionality. The early results from the store refurbishment programme and the additional investment into service both online and in store are encouraging.”

International retail sales fell by 1.3% in constant currency, which it said was a result of increasing levels of risk having a negative impact on consumer confidence. The group trades from 1,299 stores and 2.97m sq ft in its international business.

Newton-Jones said that despite the increased macro headwinds impacting consumer confidence in a number of international markets, its partners are continuing to open new space, “positioning us well for the future when the outlook improves”.

He added: “Overall our trading is in line with expectations with the UK making a good start to the year and international seeing some macro volatility as anticipated.”

@Tara_Hounslea

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