Mothercare hit by poor UK sales
Childrenswear retailer Mothercare has said that its transformation and growth plan is “on track” despite seeing a further drop in UK sales over the third quarter to January 12th.
Despite continued double-digit growth in international sales and a store closure programme targeting loss-making stores, the UK division continued to struggle, with a 5.9% fall in like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to January 12th. In the same period, international underlying sales rose 14.8%.
Whilst the international business opened a net 31 stores during the quarter, and now operates from 1,129 stores across 61 countries, 11 stores (eight Early Learning Centre and three Mothercare) were closed in the UK during the quarter. This means the UK business now operates from 269 stores compared to 311 stores at the beginning of the year. As a result, reflecting the ongoing closure of loss making stores, total UK sales were down 12.9% during Q3.
Simon Calver, chief executive of Mothercare plc, summarised: “We have made solid progress during Q3, despite a challenging consumer backdrop for the UK and Eurozone. International continues to see double-digit growth and in the UK we have made further progress closing loss-making stores. The transition to our new online platform has passed the test of peak trading with Direct in Home growing at double-digit rates during December. Our work towards delivering improved value, choice and service for our customers continues to make an impact and I am very encouraged by the new ranges and innovative product ready to go into stores for spring/summer 2013.”