High Street

Mothercare sales plunge 11.4% during third quarter

Embattled retailer Mothercare has reported an 11.4% drop in UK like-for-like sales in its Q3 trade update, which covered the 13 week period to 5 January 2019.

According to the group the results reflect a combination of the “difficult consumer backdrop” and the “aggressive discounting activity undertaken in the prior year that inflated sales in that period”.

Additionally, online sales declined by 16.3%, impacted by lower website footfall, lower iPad sales in store due to the store closure programme and a smaller toy offer with less discounting.

CEO Mark Newton-Jones said: “In our interim statement we updated on progress with our strategic plans to ensure a more sustainable and ultimately profitable Mothercare business. Whilst the UK continues to be challenging, in part as a result of our planned restructuring, we are still on course to deliver the necessary transformation.

“Our UK store closure programme continues apace and is ahead of schedule, with 36 stores currently transitioning for closure, meaning we will have a total UK estate of 79 stores by the end of March 2019. The UK business will now operate with the discipline of a franchise, allowing the wider group to focus on the Mothercare brand and making it stronger globally.”

In July 2018, the British retailer said it would look to close some 60 of its 137 stores leading to 900 job losses. It said it would also seek reduced rents for 19 of its stores through a CVA. The group recently axed around 200 staff from its head office in an attempt to cut costs and save up to £20m.

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