Mother and baby fashion retailer Mothercare announced it will close 111 of its branches over the next three years. The struggling company cited poor trading as the cause, as it revealed group sales were down 4.2% and UK sales down 8.2%. The group said it would now focus on its 200 profitable stores to offer mothers "improved value, competitive product ranges, and an enhanced customer service experience".
Mothercare said the group would become a "lean, more competitive business" as a result of the changes. Alan Parker, executive chairman, said: "Mothercare is a great global brand with strong international partners. Today marks the beginning of a three-year turnaround and I am confident we will deliver a sustained recovery and long-term success."
The group said its inventory levels remained tightly controlled and UK stocks were 13% lower than last year. The disciplined approach to stock levels had resulted in an improved UK gross margin performance in the fourth quarter.
Worldwide network sales were up 4.5% year-on-year which was an improvement on the third quarter's rise of 3%. International sales increased by 18% following a 15% rise in the previous quarter.
During the year a net 134 stores were opened outside the UK including 27 in the Middle East, 20 in Europe, 76 in Asia-Pacific and 11 in Latin America. The total number of stores outside of the UK now stands at 1,028 in 58 countries.
Mothercare also reported its full year results which showed that worldwide network sales rose 4.3% while total group sales were up 0.7%. In the UK total sales fell 6.3% while like-for-like sales decreased by 6.2%.
Image: Motherare SS12