Maternity specialist Mothercare said overseas sales had overtaken UK sales for the first time in its first half, as overseas sales growth offset a softer performance in the UK.
In the first half ended October 9, total UK sales fell 0.5%, and like-for-likes were down 3.8%. However, international retail sales were up 17.3% and overseas like-for-likes were flat. Combined performances pushed total sales over the half up 2.5%.
UK sales performance was better in the second quarter, with UK like-for-like sales were down 3.2% and total UK sales up 1.8%.
Mothercare chief executive Ben Gordon said: “We continue to see strong results from our global growth strategy. In the first half, overseas retail sales exceeded UK retail sales for the first time, and we now have 1,217 stores worldwide in 54 countries.”
“So far this year we have opened 112 new overseas stores, increasing retail space by 13%. We expect to open at least 150 new overseas stores this year, 50 more than our previous estimate, increasing retail space by at least 20%.”
Gordon added: “In the UK, Direct [mail order and internet] again delivered double digit growth and our new wholesale channel was boosted by the successful launch of Mini Club, our new clothing partnership with Boots, already trading in 370 Boots stores.”
“We are benefiting from the strategic initiatives we have taken and the rapid growth of international, direct and wholesale. The UK consumer environment remains uncertain, and accordingly we are planning cautiously for the important second half.”