Belfast Telegraph

Mothercare boss broody despite Duchess Kate baby sales hopes

By James Thompson

The chief executive of Mothercare has played down the boost the imminent arrival of a royal baby will have on its UK business, despite its plans to launch a range of clothing to mark the occasion.

Simon Calver said the Duchess of Cambridge's baby may lead to a "feelgood factor" and an "uptick" in the birth rate in nine months' time, but added: "We don't necessarily see a huge uptick in activity for our business."

Ahead of its annual meeting today, he blamed weak consumer spending and heavy discounting for a 0.9% fall in UK underlying sales over the 15 weeks to July 13.

Calver, the former boss of DVD rental firm LoveFilm, said: "We expect it to continue to be tough. There are still a large number of people unemployed and the High Street is still struggling."

Calver, who took the helm in April 2012, has embarked on a three-year programme to revitalise its ailing British business by ditching loss-making stores, cutting costs, sharpening up its pricing and growing online sales.

The chain is waiting for the "safe arrival" of the Duchess's baby before launching a range of clothes, prams and "fun" ideas.

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