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Total group sales up 11.4% at Mothercare
01
Apr '11
Mothercare plc issues an update on trading for the fourth quarter (12 weeks) and the full year (52 weeks) ended 26 March 2011.

Fourth quarter

• Worldwide network sales(1) up 10.2%
• Total group sales up 11.4%
• International franchisee retail sales(1) up 10.0% (up 12.0% at constant exchange rates)
• Total UK sales up 4.7%
• UK like-for-like sales(1) down 2.4% (down 1.1% inc. VAT)
• Direct in Home sales up 3.0% (up 4.5% inc. VAT)

Full year

• Worldwide network sales(1) up 8.6%
• Total group sales up 3.6%
• International franchisee retail sales(1) up 16.0%
• Total UK sales flat
• UK like-for-like sales(1) down 4.0% (down 2.7% inc. VAT)
• Direct in Home sales up 10.5% (up 12.1% inc. VAT)

Ben Gordon, Chief Executive said:
"International has delivered another strong year with franchisee retail sales up 12% at constant rates of exchange in the fourth quarter and up 16% in the full year with 166 new overseas stores opened. The Asia-Pacific region, which includes our joint ventures in India, China and Australia, is growing particularly rapidly with sales up 47% in the year. We now have 1,267 stores in 55 countries with 373 in the UK and 894 overseas including 62 in India.

"In the UK total sales are up 4.7% in the fourth quarter due to increased sales from the new Wholesale business and continuing benefits from our property strategy. The UK trading environment however remains difficult with weaker consumer demand and lower footfall. We have cleared Autumn/Winter stocks in an increasingly competitive environment and, as a result, we expect UK gross margin for the full year to be down 2.5 percent which is 0.5 percent lower than previous guidance. As planned, during the year we closed 26 high street stores and opened 12 parenting centres.

"Looking to the new financial year we expect International to continue its rapid growth with at least 150 new overseas stores opening. In the UK we expect the consumer environment will be challenging and accordingly, we are planning cautiously.

“We will benefit from continued progress in Wholesale however we expect the profitability of the UK retail operations to remain under significant pressure in 2011/12 with weak demand continuing, although input cost pressures on gross margin will be offset by cost savings. Work is now underway to identify further opportunities to extend our UK property strategy and we will be giving an update on this and on our other key initiatives at our Preliminary Results in May."

Mothercare plc

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