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Mothercare faces up to difficult festive trading period

Nursery and maternity retailer Mothercare has faced up to a difficult festive trading period as it releases its results for the 13 weeks to 5 January.

The struggling chain reported a 11.4% drop in like-for-like sales at UK stores, while online sales also fared badly, declining by 16.3%.

Mothercare blamed the fall in sales over the last quarter on a ‘difficult consumer backdrop’ as well as a ‘lower website footfall’ and its decision to offer fewer discounts and a smaller range of toys compared to the 2017 festive season.

The retailer also said its store closure plan was ahead of schedule, with another 36 shops closing over the next three months. By the end of March, Mothercare will have just 79 UK stores, down from 137 in May 2018.

“While 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,” said chief executive Mark Newton-Jones.

“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,” he continued.

He also said that UK market conditions were expected to ‘remain challenging’ but the company expected its full-year profits to be in line with expectations.

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