High Street

Mothercare losses widen amid declining sales

Embattled retailer Mothercare has reported statutory losses before tax of £21.2m in its half-year trading update, amid declining worldwide sales.

For the 28 weeks to 12 October 2019, worldwide sales decreased by 8.4% to £452.3m, and international retail sales were also down 5.3% in constant currency. The retailer’s net debt also rose to £24.5m during the period, compared with the £6.9m recorded in March of this year.

In the UK, like-for-like sales decreased by 2%, reflecting “challenges” for both stores and online trading, and comes after the retailer announced in November that it would cease all trading within the UK, putting a potential 2800 jobs at risk.

Mark Newton-Jones, CEO of Mothercare, said it was “simply not financially viable” to maintain the UK store estate and supporting infrastructure any longer without putting the whole Mothercare group “at risk”.

The retailer said operating stores will close over the coming weeks and months, with the potential loss of 2485 retail jobs and 384 head office positions. Further losses will be seen at warehouses and call centres.

News of the closures came after Mothercare appointed PwC as administrators.

Zelf Hussain, an administrator at PwC, said at the time: “It’s with real regret that we have to implement a phased closure of all UK stores. Our focus will be to help employees and keep the stores trading for as long as possible.

“This is a sad moment for a well-known high street name. No-one is immune from the challenging conditions faced by the UK retail sector.”

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