THIRD QUARTER TRADING UPDATE
Strong international performance; UK disrupted by weather
Mothercare plc updates on trading for the 12 weeks ended 1 January 2011 ("third quarter").
Group performance : third quarter
§ Worldwide network sales(1) up 9.6%
§ Total group sales up 0.4%
§ Total UK sales down 1.9%
§ International franchisee retail sales(1) up 17.6%
§ UK like-for-like sales(1) down 5.8% (down 3.7% inc. VAT)
§ Direct in Home sales up 10.2%
Group performance : year-to-date
§ Worldwide network sales(1) up 8.2%
§ Total group sales up 1.7%
§ Total UK sales down 1.0%
§ International franchisee retail sales(1) up 17.4%
§ UK like-for-like sales(1) down 4.5% (down 2.9% inc. VAT)
§ Direct in Home sales up 13.3%
Ben Gordon, Chief Executive said:
"We continue to make good progress with our key strategic initiatives, including the UK property restructure and the rapid growth of Wholesale, Direct and International.
"In the UK, after a strong start to the quarter, sales were impacted significantly by the adverse winter weather conditions which caused widespread disruption, particularly in our out of town stores. Direct deliveries were also affected and we cut off Christmas orders early to ensure that our customers received their deliveries on time. We estimate that the weather disruption has reduced UK like-for-like sales in the third quarter by approximately 4%, with toy sales particularly affected, and as a result full year UK gross margin will be 1% lower than previous guidance. Whilst this will be partly offset by cost savings, including a significant reduction in the share based payments charge, we expect Group Underlying Profit Before Taxation(2) for the full year to be below current market expectations.
"International has had another strong quarter with total retail sales up 17.6%. So far this year we have opened 157 new overseas stores taking the total to 885. The Asia-Pacific region, which includes our three joint ventures in India, China and Australia, performed particularly well with sales up 49%. Worldwide, we now have a total of 1,262 stores in 55 countries with 377 stores in the UK, 390 in Europe, 262 in the Middle East and Africa and 233 in Asia-Pacific.
"Whilst International continues to grow rapidly, we are planning cautiously in the UK where the consumer environment remains difficult."
Ben Gordon, Chief Executive
Neil Harrington, Finance Director
Joanne Russell, Head of Investor Relations
Catherine Hicks/Catriona McDermott
020 7404 5959
Note 1 - "Like-for-like" sales are defined as sales from stores that have been trading continuously from the same selling space for at least a year and include Direct in Home and Direct in Store and exclude estimated joint venture and Wholesale sales. International franchisee retail sales are the estimated retail sales of our overseas franchise partners and joint ventures. "Network" sales are UK retail sales plus franchise and joint venture retail sales and other Wholesale sales.
Note 2 - Group Underlying Profit Before Taxation excludes exceptional items and other non-underlying items.
Note 3 - As required by the Interim Management Statement provisions, we confirm that there has been no significant change in the financial position of the group in the period since the Interim results to the date of the Christmas trading update, save for the information provided in today's IMS.