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Mothercare sales hit by bad weather in fourth quarter

Maternity specialist Mothercare suffered a slowdown in like-for-like sales in its core UK market during the fourth quarter but annual turnover exceeded £1bn for the first time.

UK like-for-likes slipped 1.6% in the 11 weeks to March 27 as a result of snow and cold weather, but rose 3% over the year to the same date. International like-for-likes rose 2.2% over the year. Direct sales climbed 15.3% in the quarter and 16.3% in the year.

Group sales advanced 3.3% in the quarter and 5.9% over the year, when “network” sales – including international retail and wholesale – rose 10% to £1.1bn.

Mothercare chief executive Ben Gordon said: “In the fourth quarter the extreme weather conditions adversely impacted performance, resulting in an extension of our winter Sale, although the impact was offset by tight cost control.”

He said Mothercare was being tightly managed in the uncertain trading climate and was well positioned for continued success.

Over the year Mothercare opened 119 shops overseas, bringing the international store count to 728. Gordon said: “Our new joint venture in India is performing particularly well and we are planning at least 38 new stores in the coming year taking the number in India to 70.”

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