Mothercare said its turnaround strategy has started to deliver results as UK like-for-likes edged up in its second quarter.
For the 13 weeks to October 13, the mother and baby specialist retailer’s like-for-likes in the UK edged up 0.3%. Sales at its online business surged 11% in the period after the retailer shifted to a new online platform.
Total sales in the second quarter slumped 6.2% due to the retailer’s store closure programme. Mothercare has already closed 31 stores out of a year-end target of 50.
For the 28 weeks to October 13 like-for-like sales fell 3.4%, total sales dropped 8.3% while online sales edged up 0.9%.
Mothercare said growth in its group sales was offset by the impact of store closures in the UK, as it dropped 5.9% in the first half.
Mothercare chief executive Simon Calver said: “In the UK, we have put the customer back at the heart of what we do. This is already beginning to have a beneficial impact on like-for-like sales, which along with our online business have returned to growth.”
The retailer’s international business continued to trade strongly as retail sales advanced 10.8% both in the second quarter and Mothercare’s first half and retail sales in constant currencies increased 15.2% both in the second quarter and first half. Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa traded “strongly” but Europe remains weaker. The retailer opened 70 stores in the first half, bringing the total estate to 1,098.
Calver added: “International continues to grow despite difficult trading conditions in the Eurozone and adverse currency movements. We recognise that our most important quarter which includes Christmas is still ahead of us. We are confident about delivering against the targets we set out in our three-year plan.”