Almost half of Mothercare's sales are now online
Almost half of Mothercare’s sales are now online

Mothercare said it expected to reduce its UK store estate to below 80 by next March as it reported falling online and offline sales in first-half figures. The reduction would come three months ahead of expectations, after a first half in which the retailer for parents and carers of babies and young children closed 20 stores. A further 40 stores are due to close by March.

Today the retailer, a Top50 business in IRUK Top500 research, said sales at the business had been hit by its high profile refinancing and decision to use company voluntary arrangements (CVAs) to close stores and renegotiate terms with landlords.This affected visitor numbers both to its website and to its UK stores, and UK sales fell by 14.3% in total, or 11.3% on a like-for-like basis with strips out the effect of store openings and closures. Online, sales of £81m were 7.8% down on last time. In addition to the general downward trend, online was also hit by a decision to halve the range of toys that it sells, as it focuses further towards younger children. Online accounted for 45% of sales. Within that, 42% of online sales came via in-store iPads. Most (88%) of the remaining online sales came via mobile devices.

Mothercare said its UK business was also affected by “challenges” as suppliers restricted stock availability.

Group revenue of £295m in the…