Mothercare shares up 5% as full-year profits rise for first time in five years


Mothercare shares rose 5% after the retailer reported its first increase in full-year profits for five years as the company's turnaround under chief executive Mark Newton-Jones begins to yield results.

The firm said that pre-tax profit came in at £9.7 million compared with a loss of £13.1 million last year as "digitally enabled millennials" helped drive growth.

Like-for-like sales in the UK rose 3.6% and online sales rocketed by 15%.

Mr Newton-Jones said: "The results highlight the significant progress we are making towards returning the UK to profitability.

"Improvements to our customer offer, both in store and online, and the look and feel of the store estate are driving like-for-like sales growth for a second consecutive year."

Despite the group profit, the firm still posted a £6.4 million loss in the UK. At its international arm, Mothercare's underlying profit came in at £40.3 million, a fall of 12%.

Mr Newton-Jones added: "Conditions for our international business remain challenging. The issues are primarily at a macro level, with economic and currency headwinds persisting.

"Whilst we recognise these pressures, we believe that we can also make some improvements in how we operate."

Mothercare closed 19 underperforming stores over the year and revamped 47 stores, adding cafes and play zones to cater for parents wanting to "relax over a coffee while their toddlers have a run around in a fully supervised play zone".