Mamas & Papas enjoys record Christmas as turnaround gathers pace

Derek Lovelock

Derek Lovelock

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Mamas & Papas, the Yorkshire-based nursery brand, today said it had enjoyed a record Christmas after returning to profit last year following a successful restructuring of the business.

Like-for-like sales in the six weeks to January 3 2016 were 18 per cent higher at £12.0m, providing further evidence that the turnaround in its UK retail operations is gathering pace, the company said today.

Sunday December 27 was the best trading day on record in its stores. More car seats were sold in a week than ever before, and 2,000 pushchairs were bought, which is the equivalent to one every 10 minutes a store was open.

Accounts filed at Companies House show Mamas & Papas (Holdings) Limited, the parent company which includes M&P’s UK retail division, returned to profitability in the second half of the financial year.

In the 12 months to March 29 2015, the business reported an operating profit of £91,000 before one-off costs, compared with a £5.7m loss in 2014, on maintained sales at £137.6m, which was slightly lower than the £137.7m recorded the year before.

Turnover in the UK increased to £107.8m, from £104.5m, of which £88.6m related to retail sales.

Commenting on the results, Derek Lovelock, the Huddersfield-based company’s executive chairman, said: “Our strong performance this Christmas underlines the strength of the turnaround at Mamas & Papas. The first phase of the strategic plan, which included a fundamental restructure of the business, was completed at pace. Like the rest of the business, the UK retail estate is now trading well, outperforming business plan expectations and delivering robust like-for-like sales growth. We expect growth in both revenue and profit to be maintained.”

The business, which was acquired by BlueGem Capital Partners in July 2014, operates in 59 countries, has 34 stores in the UK and it employs 1,245 people.

In September 2014, landlords voted overwhelmingly to approve a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) with Mamas & Papas’ UK retail subsidiary.

The accounts show that exceptional and non-recurring costs of £4.6m associated with the CVA were incurred as a result of the closure of loss-making stores and a comprehensive restructuring of the head office in Huddersfield.

As part of the restructure, a new four-year loan facility was also secured with HSBC to support investment plans.

These include the opening of a flagship store in London’s Westfield shopping centre and the launch of a new e-commerce platform in 2016.

Mr Lovelock added: “Investment in global product launches continue to drive double-digit growth in our key categories of travel, home and clothing. The new sourcing strategy for clothing has enabled us to maintain our premium quality position while passing on lower prices to our customers.”

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