Mothercare reports sales decline

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Under-pressure retailer Mothercare today announced another drop in UK sales as it continues to flounder at home but flourish abroad.

The mothers-to-be, babies and children’s goods group, which runs around 350 stores in the UK, said that like-for-like sales in its domestic market were down by three per cent in the 13 weeks to January 7.

The figure is better than the seven per cent decrease reported in August and included a five per cent increase in December, although this performance was helped by comparisons with the cold snap the previous Christmas.

Total global sales were down by 1.2 per cent despite a three per cent increase in its worldwide network. Mothercare has 1,000 stores outside the UK.

Today’s update comes after a depressing 2011 for the group, which saw it place its entire UK business under review after half year losses of more than £80m and the departure of chief executive Ben Gordon.

Executive chairman Alan Parker said: “In the UK, the better like-for-like sales performance was achieved in an increasingly competitive consumer environment.

“Additional promotional activity was successful in driving a five per cent like-for-like sales increase in December.”