Mothercare improvement plan curbs losses

Mothercare store
Image caption Mothercare aims to revive its UK business over the next three years

Mothercare says its turnaround strategy is continuing to yield results, by cutting its losses and slowing down its fall in sales.

The company made a loss of £0.6m in the six months to October 13, down from £4.4m for the same period a year ago.

Sales measured on a like-for-like basis are still falling, but the decline, of 3.4%, is half that of a year ago.

Mothercare, which runs 1,400 stores including 280 in the UK, is six months into a three-year improvement plan.

It closed 25 Early Learning Centres and six Mothercare stores during the first half of the year and plans to bring the total number of store closures for the year to 50.

It also said it had lowered its prices on some ranges in response to customers, who had told the company it needed to offer better value.

Offsetting that move, Mothercare has introduced a number of "premium" ranges, including one in collaboration with Jools Oliver, Jamie Oliver's wife.

The company's chief executive, Simon Calver, said its plans were paying off: "Our results show early signs of progress despite the challenging trading conditions in the UK and the eurozone. "

The company said it was doing well in Turkey and Eastern Europe.

It is also expanding in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.

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