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Sales slide at troubled Mothercare as UK stores face closure

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Tom Belger
·Finance and policy reporter
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A branch of Mothercare in Colliers Wood, London, which is  closing down. Photo credit should read: Katie Collins/EMPICS
Administrators confirmed last month the mother-and-baby retailer would close all 79 of its UK stores, threatening 2,500 jobs. Photo: Katie Collins/EMPICS

Mothercare’s losses deepened in the first half of the year as sales fell at the struggling retailer, which is planning to close all its UK stores.

The company (MTC.L) saw its UK sales fall by 2% in the first half of its financial year to 12 October, shortly before the company’s UK arm was placed in administration.

It said in its results published on Tuesday that its pre-tax losses grew from £18.5m to £21.1m year-on-year.

This comes after administrators confirmed last month the mother-and-baby retailer would close all 79 of its UK stores, threatening 2,500 jobs.

The company has announced a closing down sale, slashing prices on many products by up to 50%.

Mark Newton-Jones, CEO of Mothercare, commented: "This has been an extraordinarily challenging period in Mothercare's 58-year history, particularly for our committed, hard-working colleagues who have worked tirelessly to sustain our UK retail operation.

READ MORE: Ted Baker issues profit warning as bosses depart

Mothercare announced a closing down sale. Photo: Mothercare website
Mothercare announced a closing down sale. Photo: Mothercare website

“It was simply not financially viable to maintain the UK store estate and supporting infrastructure any longer without putting the whole Mothercare Group at risk."

He said the company had not take its decision to close UK stores “lightly,” but said its focus on its global franchise turned the group into a “capital light, cash generative and profitable business” and protected its pension scheme.

He added: "We are confident in the future of the Mothercare brand. We believe that, without the financial and management burden of running a UK retail operation, we can singularly focus Mothercare on its global international franchise.

“This opportunity for this business is best demonstrated by the fact that there are 130 million babies born every year across the world, compared to 700,000 in the UK‎, and the Group will now look to drive value for shareholders by harnessing that potential."

READ MORE: Wetherspoon’s to create 10,000 jobs in major UK expansion