Mothercare taking small steps towards turnaround

Mothercare have enjoyed an upturn in sales. Picture: PA

Mothercare have enjoyed an upturn in sales. Picture: PA

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MOTHERCARE yesterday emphasised that a programme of store ­closures, refits and a drive for more full-price sales was ­beginning to turn around its UK business.

The company, which also owns the Early Learning Centre brand, said these initiatives lifted like-for-like sales 5.1 per cent in its final 11 weeks of the year to 28 March, with total sales rising 1.5 per cent.

It added that UK store space contracted by 4.5 per cent over the year, leaving the firm with 189 stores as part of its ongoing closure programme.

The improvement follows a £100 million fundraising last October from shareholders to fund the modernisation and digital overhaul of the UK business.

A refit programme is under way to reverse under-investment, which has meant 80 per cent of the group’s UK store portfolio has not been refurbished in the last seven to eight years.

The new look gives stores digital screens and video walls, iPads, customer wi-fi and click and collect enhancements.

The retailer added that online sales grew by 31.8 per cent during its fourth quarter, and by 18.3 per cent over the year.

Chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said: “It is still early days in our turnaround, but we are putting the foundations in place by modernising and investing in our business.”

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