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Mothercare posts 8.4% YOY drop in fiscal H1 worldwide sales

Mothercare PLC on Dec. 10 reported an 8.4% drop in global sales for the first half of its 2019-2020 fiscal year as it continued to face difficult trading conditions in most markets.

The maternity and children's apparel retailer placed its U.K. operations under administration in November after failing to turn around the business. It was earlier reported that the company was trying to find a buyer for the unit.

For the 28 weeks ended Oct. 12, international like-for-like sales declined 5.7% year over year while total international retail sales slid 1.6% to £316.4 million from £321.4 million a year ago. Group adjusted loss before tax improved 44.8% to £5.8 million from £10.5 million in 2018.

In the U.K., like-for-like sales dipped 2% and online sales generated £68.9 million, 13% lower than £79.2 million in the same period last year. Overall, total sales in the country declined 19.2% year over year to £131.8 million.

"It was simply not financially viable to maintain the U.K. store estate and supporting infrastructure any longer without putting the whole Mothercare Group at risk," said CEO Mark Newton-Jones.

Newton-Jones added that Mothercare can now focus on developing and expanding its global international franchise without the financial and management burden of running a domestic retail operation.

The company said it is still in talks on establishing a new franchise of Mothercare in the U.K.

Mothercare also appointed Brian Small to its board of directors. Small served as CFO of JD Sports Fashion PLC and will replace Nick Wharton, who has returned to full-time executive employment as group CFO of Pepco Group.