Belfast Telegraph

Weather hits Mothercare sales but Brexit impact 'too early to call'

By Ravender Sembhy

Baby retailer Mothercare said sales were hit by poor weather in the first quarter, adding that it is too early to assess the impact of the Brexit vote on consumer confidence.

UK like-for-like sales at the chain — which has a total of eight stores in Northern Ireland — rose 1.2% in the period, which represents a significant slowdown from previous quarters.

Chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said: “In the UK, sales were impacted by unseasonable weather; this resulted in bringing our end-of-season sale forward by one week.

“We have not seen any immediate consumer reaction to the Brexit vote, but it is too early to call, as we went into the end-of-season sale early.”

Online sales in the UK were up 6.4% and website business now accounts for 35.5% of all British sales, driven by mobile.

Internationally, Mr Newton-Jones flagged that the timing of Ramadan gave the firm a boost, but warned of a choppy year ahead.

“International sales were materially helped by the timing of Ramadan, which was entirely in the first quarter this year. We remain cautious and expect to see continued volatility during the first half of the year.”

Belfast Telegraph