Mothercare's shares drop, again

Mothercare Mothercare has been in-and-out of Deathwatch on countless occasions, proving that they're either beleaguered as a business, or we don't know what we're talking about.

Anyway, looks like things still aren't great at the pram-vendors. Internationally, Mothercare have been doing okay, with only their UK-arm letting the team down. However, the chain's international business has suffered a fall in sales, which has seen their shares drop.

Mark Newton-Jones, the chief executive, has been trying to turn the company around, but now, it looks like he can't rely on international sales, which has been propping up the UK division for years. In the Middle East, they've stopped shopping at Mothercare, and the weakness of the euro, on top of sanctions in Russia, have hampered sales.

Shares were down by nearly 6% last night, and Newton-Jones said: "Trading across our international business has been more volatile, as we have previously highlighted, with increased macro headwinds impacting consumer confidence in a number of our markets."

Curse those macro headwinds! They really make a mess of your hair!

Poorly performing stores are being shut down across the UK, after last year, Mothercare said they'd close a quarter of all shops. The company have a plan, which is to move away from the high street and look toward bigger retail parks. Of course, shoppers have shown that they don't like big retail parks anymore, with supermarkets trying to get away from them, so what Mothercare are doing is not clear to us.

It isn't wholly bad news for the business - online, their sales have gone up 23.9%, which is encouraging.

Newton-Jones added: "Our strategy in the UK is continuing to deliver results. We have delayed the end-of-season sale to take advantage of well-controlled stock and the warm weather to sell more at full price. As a result, margins are improving without adversely affecting like-for-like sales. Online has also benefited from lower discounts and promotions with the additional benefit of improved functionality."

What do you think?

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