Written by: Keith Tully
Published: 8th January 2019
The parent and baby retail company Mothercare has revealed figures showing a sharp drop in overall sales revenues and reiterated its intention to close dozens more of its stores across the UK.
In the 13 weeks to January 5th 2019, sales were down by 11 per cent across Mothercare’s UK business and by 18 per cent across its international operations.
The most recent financial quarter for the retailer also saw the value of its online sales fall by some 16.4 per cent.
A growing number of retail operators are being required by financial realities and creditor pressures to reduce the number of outlets they operate and Mothercare is no exception.
The company is now on course to reduce its number of stores in the UK from 137 in May 2018 to 79 by the end of March this year.
Those closures were agreed as part of a rescue deal struck between Mothercare and its creditors last year and are resulting in the loss of hundreds of jobs around the country.
“Whilst the UK continues to be challenging, in part as a result of our planned restructuring, we are still on course to deliver the necessary transformation,” said the company’s chief executive Mark Newton-Jones in a statement.
“Our UK store closure programme continues apace and is ahead of schedule, with 36 stores currently transitioning for closure, meaning we will have a total UK estate of 79 stores by the end of March 2019.”
Its latest trading update noted that Mothercare has been able to improve its net debt position by selling and leasing back its UK head office.
In that same update, the 11.4 per cent decline in sales revenues recorded during the most recently assessed quarter was attributed to “a combination of the difficult consumer backdrop and the aggressive discounting activity undertaken in the prior year that inflated sales in that period”.
Mr Newton-Jones added in his statements that while Mothercare’s international business is “showing signs of recovery”, he expects “market conditions in the UK to remain challenging”.