Mothercare expects tough conditions to continue

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Baby accessories retailer Mothercare has predicted that the tough trading conditions will continue for the rest of the year as it reported a dip in sales.

The group, which has been closing loss-making stores under its “transformation and growth” plan, said first-quarter sales in the UK were 0.9 per cent lower than a year ago on a like-for-like basis.

A total of 13 branches were closed during the 15 weeks to 13 July, leaving it with 192 Mothercare stores and 50 Early Learning Centre outlets.

Chief executive Simon Calver said: “The UK is very promotional and our goal is to be price competitive whilst delivering cash margin.

“However, trading conditions have been challenging both in the UK and across our Eurozone markets and are expected to remain so for the rest of the year.”

In contrast to the falling UK sales, the retailer enjoyed a strong performance at its international business, which comprises more than 1,100 franchise stores in 60 countries. Total international sales were 14.1 per cent higher than a year ago.