Mothercare sales down but recovery going to plan

Infants retailer Mothercare closed 56 loss-making stores in the year to end-March as chief executive Simon Calver's recovery plan builds steam.

Infants retailer Mothercare closed 56 loss-making stores in the year to end-March as chief executive Simon Calver's recovery plan builds steam.

Total group sales fell 6.0% in the 52 weeks to March 31st, with a 15% rise in international sales at constant currencies not enough to counterbalance a 9.0% fall in total UK sales.

Underlying profit before tax, to be released in the full year 2013 results, would therefore be in line with market expectations.

Encouragingly, UK like-for-likes were down a lesser 3.6%, supported by strong double-digit growth in the fourth quarter from the Direct in Home online business, and the contraction in total sales slowed to 4.8%n in the fourth quarter.

The international business opened 115 stores and increased space by 13.5% during the year, such that it now operates from 1,069 stores across 60 countries, while the administrator decided to close all the group's associate Australia and New Zealand stores, in which it had a 23% stake.

A third of the way into his three-year "Transformation and Growth plan", Calver says he believes the business is already on a "firmer footing", boosted by the arrival of new Chief Financial Officer Matt Smith in mid-March to complete the new executive team.

He concluded: "So despite our continuing caution with regards to the outlook for consumer spending in the UK and the Eurozone, we can look ahead to the new year with confidence."

OH

Recommended

Which assets will benefit as the “jam tomorrow” bubble pops?
Investment strategy

Which assets will benefit as the “jam tomorrow” bubble pops?

With tech stocks, cryptocurrencies and many other “long duration” investments crashing hard, the “jam tomorrow” bubble looks to be bursting. John Step…
24 Jan 2022
Three innovative Asian stocks to buy now
Share tips

Three innovative Asian stocks to buy now

Professional investor Fay Ren of the Cerno Pacific Fund highlights three of her favourite Asian stocks to buy now
24 Jan 2022
Share tips of the week – 21 January
Share tips

Share tips of the week – 21 January

MoneyWeek’s comprehensive guide to the best of this week’s share tips from the rest of the UK's financial pages.
21 Jan 2022
Seven cheap defence stocks to buy now
Share tips

Seven cheap defence stocks to buy now

We’ve got used to a world without war between major powers, but that era is coming to an end as Russia threatens Ukraine and China eyes Taiwan. Buy de…
21 Jan 2022

Most Popular

Ask for a pay rise – everyone else is
Inflation

Ask for a pay rise – everyone else is

As inflation bites and the labour market remains tight, many of the nation's employees are asking for a pay rise. Merryn Somerset Webb explains why yo…
17 Jan 2022
Shareholder capitalism: why we must return power to listed companies’ ultimate owners
Investment strategy

Shareholder capitalism: why we must return power to listed companies’ ultimate owners

Under our system of shareholder capitalism it's not fund managers, it‘s the individual investors – the company's ultimate owners – who should be telli…
24 Jan 2022
Interest rates might rise faster than expected – what does that mean for your money?
Global Economy

Interest rates might rise faster than expected – what does that mean for your money?

The idea that the US Federal Reserve could raise interest rates much earlier than anticipated has upset the markets. John Stepek explains why, and wha…
6 Jan 2022