Mother­care UK sales fall in third quar­ter

Yorkshire Post - Business - - BUSINESS / NEWS - Grace Ham­mond BUSI­NESS RE­PORTER @york­shire­post

Mother­care’s UK sales dropped in the third quar­ter as the be­lea­guered re­tailer cut back on pro­mo­tions amid its dra­matic trans­for­ma­tion plan.

In the 13 weeks to Jan­uary 5, UK like-for-like sales dropped 11.4 per cent.

Mother­care said this re­flected a mix of con­sumer cau­tion and less dis­count­ing com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year which was boosted by ag­gres­sive pro­mo­tional ac­tiv­ity.

The amount of stock in the end of sea­son sale was re­duced by 23 per cent com­pared to the prior year. It comes as Mother­care con­tin­ues to close UK stores un­der a com­pany vol­un­tary ar­range­ment (CVA) agreed with cred­i­tors in June last year.

By March this year, the re­tailer’s UK busi­ness will have 79 stores and op­er­ate “with the dis­ci­pline of a fran­chise”, ac­cord­ing to chief ex­ec­u­tive Mark New­ton-Jones.

“Look­ing ahead, our in­ter­na­tional busi­ness con­tin­ues to show signs of re­cov­ery, although we ex­pect mar­ket con­di­tions in the UK to re­main chal­leng­ing with fur­ther dis­rup­tion un­til April from our store clo­sure pro­gramme,” he said.

“How­ever, given the pace of our strate­gic trans­for­ma­tion plan, our full-year profit guid­ance is un­changed.”

To­tal group sales, in­clud­ing in­ter­na­tional, were down 18 per cent in the pe­riod. But the firm re­mained up­beat on its trans­for­ma­tion plans, which it says will de­liver £19m of an­nu­alised cost sav­ings.

As part of the over­haul, the group is be­ing di­vided into Mother­care global brand, Mother­care UK and Busi­ness Ser­vices.

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