Value ranges lift Mothercare

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BABY products retailer Mothercare has trimmed half-year losses after the launch of a value range proved a hit with customers.

The group, which has 280 shops in the UK, saw underlying pre-tax losses fall to £600,000 from £4.4 million a year earlier as it returned to sales growth in the second quarter for the first time in two and a half years.

It said sales of its lower-priced clothes were so popular that more stock had to be ordered.

Chief executive Simon Calver joined the group earlier this year to lead a turnaround of the loss-making business, which will see store numbers reduced from 311 to 200 by 2015.

He said consumer confidence in the UK remained weak ahead of its peak Christmas period and confirmed the group would continue with its store closure and cost cutting programme.