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Mothercare's group sales dragged down by UK

LONDON, Oct (KOSDAQ: 039200.KQ - news) 17 (Reuters) - British mother and baby products retailer Mothercare PLC (LSE: MTC.L - news) said its total group sales fell 0.5 percent in its second quarter, year-on-year, pulled down by its performance in its home market.

The company, however, continued to post double-digit growth in its international business, with overseas retail sales in constant currency up 12.6 percent.

In Britain, where it reduced selling space by 6 percent year-on-year in the quarter, like-for-like sales fell 1.9 percent, it said on Thursday. That was better than analysts had expected, with Peel Hunt having forecast a 3 percent decline.

Mothercare, which does 60 percent of its business outside Britain, has embarked on a cost-cutting programme to close unprofitable stores, largely in Europe, while opening new franchises in merging markets, especially in China.

"As planned, during the quarter we closed a further five loss-making stores in the UK, and year-on-year increased space by 11.9 percent across our international markets," Chief Executive Simon Calver said.

Shares in the company were trading down 3.8 percent at 378 pence at 0716 GMT, giving the group a market capitalisation of 335 million pounds.