Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Mothercare sees jump in sales outside UK

Retailer Mothercare said its "rapid" international growth meant it was now generating more sales overseas than in the UK.

The landmark was met during the first half of its financial year to October 9, when UK sales fell 0.5% and international revenues lifted 17%.

The company has just opened its 50th store in India and its 800th store overseas as part of plans to add at least 150 international outlets in the financial year - 50 more than its previous estimate.

The expansion into some of the world's faster growing economies has helped Mothercare offset the impact of difficult trading conditions in the UK, where its like-for-like sales fell 3.8% in the first half.

In April, it reported its first drop in UK like-for-like sales for 19 quarters and chief executive Ben Gordon said that the company was prepared for the trading pressures to continue.

He added: "The UK consumer environment remains uncertain, and accordingly we are planning cautiously for the important second half."

While high street trading has been testing, Mothercare has been encouraged by double-digit sales growth at its UK home shopping arm.

Internationally, Mothercare has been targeting India and China as key growth markets after forming joint ventures with local partners.

It also recently acquired a 25% stake in its Australian franchisee, which will have 60 Mothercare and Early Learning Centre stores in three years through a combination of acquisitions and organic growth.