THE Yorkshire-based nursery brand Mamas & Papas enjoyed double-digit sales growth in the run-up to Christmas, after its performance was boosted by a record Black Friday.
In the 13 weeks to December 25, the company’s like-for-like sales grew by 11 per cent. Black Friday, on November 25, beat the previous best online sales day by 29 per cent.
Black Friday is America’s equivalent of the Boxing Day sales – a rush to the shops in the lull that follows the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s a tradition that has been imported to the UK in recent years.
Huddersfield-based Mamas & Papas has opened three new concept stores, including one in an area of Battersea known as London’s ‘Nappy Valley’ due to its high concentration of affluent young families.
The business is looking to open another 15 new outlets, with half of them inside the M25.
The trading update follows the recent promotion of Jonathon Fitzgerald to chief executive from chief commercial officer. In his new role he will continue to report to Mamas & Papas’ chairman, the retail veteran Derek Lovelock.
Mr Fitzgerald said: “These are encouraging results and show that our investment in new formats, new product launches and in digital is really paying off.
“The growth we’ve seen in personal shopping is particularly pleasing. Our customers really value good service so we’ve created and curated rich, in-store experiences that encourage parents-to-be to come to us for tailored advice on everything from nursery design and sleep tips to advice on nutrition and wellbeing.”
Mamas & Papas is backed by private equity firm BlueGem Capital Partners.
Accounts just filed at Companies House show that in the 52 weeks to March 27 2016, operating profits at the holding company, which includes franchised international operations, nearly quadrupled to £5.5m.
UK sales totalled £99.8m, compared with £107.8m the previous year, as the number of UK stores almost halved during the year to 32, as part of a comprehensive restructuring of the business.
Like-for-like retail sales grew by 20 per cent during the year, while e-commerce was up 12 per cent at £20.7m. Sales in overseas markets were 11 per cent higher at £32.9m.