Mothercare: still performing badly
The retailer has blamed low oil prices in the Middle East, as well as weak consumer confidence in China for this, as sales fall across their business. They have a plan to get things moving in the right direction, and it may well be working, as they've seen an eighth-consecutive quarter of like-for-like sales growth in the UK.
They haven't seen a huge growth, but progress is progress, and one of the reasons for this, is Mothercare's refusal to discount. The company has also been closing under-performing shops in the UK, including those under the Early Learning Centre brand. They now have 170 stores, and 40% of those have been refitted and tarted up.
They've also seen improved sales online, which of course, is key to the success of many retailers.
However, Mothercare has a tricky balancing act - in the years when it performed badly in the UK, international sales kept it afloat. Now, the company is seeing growth in the UK, while its international business is struggling. Their sales outside of the UK fell 10.8% over the final three months of its financial year.
Mothercare said in a statement: "In the Middle East consumer sentiment was impacted by the sustained lower oil price, resulting in a significant decline in constant currency sales. In Asia, China in particular, was affected by weakening consumer confidence. Europe and Latin America were impacted by adverse currency moves."
Chief executive Mark Newton-Jones: "In the year ahead, we expect to make further progress in the UK. However, our international markets are likely to remain challenging with the current trends in space, sales and currency continuing into the new financial year."