Sales at nursery and maternity retailer Mothercare fell further during the first half of the year according to its half-year results, with pre-tax losses climbing to £21.2m in the 28-week period ending 12 October 2019.
The retailer – which placed its UK business in administration on 5 November after it was deemed unable to ‘return to a level of structural profitability’ – reported a slowdown in international sales, which were were down 8.4% annually over the period.
International like-for-like sales fell by 5.7% in the first six months of the year, while domestic like-for-like sales fell by 2%. Net debt also rose to £24.5m, representing a 14.4% increase year-on-year.
All 79 remaining Mothercare stores across the UK are currently holding closing down sales to get rid of stock before they are closed in the coming weeks and months.
Mothercare chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said: “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.”
He continued: “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.”
“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.”