Mothercare takes small steps forward

Mothercare lifted some of the gloom surrounding the company yesterday by revealing a more resilient UK sales performance so far this year.

Alan Parker took heart from his companys latest performance. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

The retailer, which has 220 stores under the Mothercare and Early Learning Centre brands, said like-for-like sales were just 0.3 per cent lower in the 12 weeks to 29 March, against a 1.9 per cent fall for the whole financial year.

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Chairman Alan Parker described the performance as encouraging following the profits warning issued in the wake of poor festive trading. In February, chief executive Simon Calver left after less than two years in charge.

Joseph Robinson, of retail consultancy Conlumino, said the challenge was to compete on price against value players while ensuring the attractiveness of its products against premium peers such as John Lewis and Mamas & Papas.