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Mothercare sees a rebirth as British retail scene picks up





Mothercare halved annual losses and said it boosted same store sales for the first time in five years as the babywear retailer begins to see the results of its turnaround plan.

The company, which also owns the Early Learning Centre brand, said like-for-like sales at its UK stores grew by 2pc in the year to March 28, compared to a 1.9pc fall 12 months ago. It said it is making progress as it cuts stores, reduces discounting, introduces more contemporary stock and upgrades its remaining estate. Shares lifted more than 4pc.

The business said group underlying pre-tax profits jumped 37pc to £13m (€18.3m), while its pre-tax losses narrowed to £13.1m, from £26.3m a year ago.

In the UK total sales slipped just under 1pc to £458m (€645m) as it closed 31 underperforming outlets over the period to end the year with 189 stores.

Meanwhile, UK retail sales rose more than economists forecast in April as warm weather helped to boost clothing demand the most in four years.

The volume of sales including car fuel increased 1.2pc from March, the Office for National Statistics said yesterday. Economists had anticipated a 0.4pc increase, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Clothing and footwear sales rose 5.2pc, the biggest gain since April 2011, as warmer-than-average temperatures prompted consumers to bring forward summer purchases. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent