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Mothercare posts first quarter sales slump

By Roger Baird

Mothercare saw its turnaround hit a bump in the road as the babywear retailer posted a slump in first quarter sales.

The chain, which also owns the Early Learning Centre brand, said group sales fell 5.2% in the 15 weeks to July 11 after it closed UK stores and suffered volatile sales internationally, sending shares down 8%.

Total revenues slipped 0.9% in the UK, but like-for-like sales lifted 1.3% as the group refurbished stores and rolled out iPads to its shops.

The group is in the middle of a £100m turnaround plan which has seen it cut its number of UK stores, curb discounting, refurbish remaining outlets and upgrade its ranges.

The firm said in May it halved annual losses and boosted same store sales for the first time in five years as the retailer began to see the fruits of its plan.

But yesterday it said its worldwide sales fell 3.5% in its first quarter.

Mothercare in Ireland, which is operated on a separate franchise basis, entered examinership this week.

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