Baby and infant retailer has turned a profit for the first time in five years.
Mothercare On The Up

Baby and infant retailer Mothercare has turned in a pre-tax profit - of £9.7m - for the first time in five years as the UK turnaround continues, with underlying profits (before tax) up 51% at £19.6m.

The recent boost has been attributed to improved margins and an impressive online sales growth of 15%, compared to the previous year.

UK like-for-like sales have also risen by 3.6% in the year ending 26 March, while losses have been reduced by 64%. Despite this improvement, the UK business still reported an underlying loss of £6.4m - although that is compared with a deficit of £18m the previous year.

Plans also remain underway to strengthen the international business which remains challenging. Economic and currency headwinds continue to impact upon international profits, which were down by 12%.

"The results highlight the significant progress we are making towards returning the UK to profitability," commented chief executive Mark Newton-Jones. "The look and feel of the store estate are driving like-for-like sales growth for a second consecutive year. There is still much to do, but we are encouraged by our maintained trajectory towards profitability in the UK."

Mark attributed the company's success to recent improvements to its customer offer, both in store and online. Nearly 40% of all Mothercare stores have now been revamped and customer feedback continues to be positive.

Internationally, Mothercare will be selling certain stores which are underperforming, while expanding in other locations where there is potential for long term growth.

"We are also taking the lessons learned from our success in the UK and exporting them to our international markets," explained Mark. "This is strengthening our international operations and improving the management of our brand globally."