LONDON May 23 British baby and maternity
products retailer Mothercare posted a
better-than-expected rise in full-year profit and said it was
making good progress with its three-year turnaround plan.
The group, which has some 1,300 stores worldwide including
255 in the UK, on Thursday reported an underlying pretax profit
of 8.3 million pounds ($12.49 million) for the year to the end
of March, up from 1.6 million pounds a year earlier and above
the average 7.2 million pounds forecast in a Thomson Reuters
poll of analysts.
Total group sales fell 7.8 percent to 749.4 million pounds,
reflecting the closure of loss-making stores in Britain. As part
of chief executive Simon Calver's turnaround strategy the group
has closed 56 UK stores in the year to the end of March, ahead
of its target of 50 closures.
Total UK sales fell 10.8 percent to 499.7 million pounds in
the year, while UK like-for-like sales were down 3.6 percent, an
improvement on the 6.2 percent decline a year earlier.
The company's net debt rose 61 percent during the year to
stand at 32.4 million pounds at the end of March.
"The group's profitability has improved, in line with our
plans, and we have delivered the first phase of our
Transformation and Growth plan," said Calver.