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Mothercare's UK sales bolstered by online growth

Mothercare’s like-for-like sales in the UK edged up 1% in the 13 weeks to 7 January, driven by a 5.5% uplift online.

Online sales now represent about 40% of the UK total.

Total UK sales were up 0.6%, and Mothercare said its UK margins remain within guidance for the full year.

International retail sales were down 5.9% in constant currency and up 13% in actual currency, reflecting the ongoing foreign exchange rate tailwinds.

There was a mixed performance in its international business, with China and Russia returning to growth and the Middle East ”remaining challenging”.

Total group sales were up 1.8%.

Chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said: ”Overall group performance remains in line with market expectations.

“The UK returned to growth following the challenging summer trading period. We maintained our focus on product improvement and full-price sales while prudent stock management allowed us to enter the end-of-season-Sale after peak trading with less stock than last year.

“International continues to benefit from currency tailwinds, however underlying performance continues to be mixed in spite of many markets returning to growth. Both China and Russia improved, while the Middle East continues to be challenging. We are working closely with our international partners to modernise their businesses while at the same time see many opportunities in both new and existing markets around the world.

“We remain firmly focused on our strategy to build our businesses both here in the UK and internationally and our vision remains clear - to be the leading global retailer for parents and young children.”

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