Mothercare half-year sales fall during 'extraordinarily challenging period'

Mothercare has reported falling sales for the first-half of the year as
the British retailer continues to face an “extraordinarily challenging
period”.

Loss before tax at the maternity and babywear specialist rose to 21.2
million pounds in the six months to the end of October, up from 18.5
million pounds in the same period last year, as net debt grew to 24.5
million pounds.

Group adjusted loss before tax narrowed to 5.8 million
pounds from 10.5 million.

Worldwide sales for the group fell 8.4 percent to 452.3 million pounds
as total group revenue dropped 13.2 percent to 234.1 million pounds.
Like-for-like international sales dropped by 5.7 percent, while
like-for-like UK sales were down 2 percent.

These latest figures come after Mothercare’s UK business fell into
administration in November.

Mark Newton-Jones, CEO of Mothercare plc, said in a statement: “This has
been an extraordinarily challenging period in Mothercare’s 58-year history,
particularly for our committed, hard-working colleagues who have worked
tirelessly to sustain our UK retail operation. 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.

“Whilst this was a very difficult decision and one we didn’t take
lightly, it completes the transformation of our group into a capital light,
cash generative and profitable business and, importantly, protects all of
the pensioners of the group.

“We are confident in the future of the Mothercare brand. We believe
that, without the financial and management burden of running a UK retail
operation, we can singularly focus Mothercare on its global international
franchise. This opportunity for this business is best demonstrated by the
fact that there are 130 million babies born every year across the world,
compared to 700,000 in the UK‎, and the Group will now look to drive value
for shareholders by harnessing that potential.”

The company also announced that non-executive director Nick Wharton is
stepping down and will be replaced by Brian Small after a suitable handover
period.

Photo credit: Mothercare UK, Facebook



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