Mothercare sales plunge as losses widen | All Charts News - breaking news english

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Mothercare customersImage copyright Newscast

Sales in the UK arm of baby goods retailer Mothercare plunged almost 9% last year as its losses widened to £87.3m.

The firm said its sales had fallen following reduced consumer confidence after last year’s restructuring.

That led to it closing almost a third of its stores. It is now left with 79 and will develop its online sales.

But boss Mark Newton-Jones said the firm was on a “sounder footing” after the sale of the Early Learning Centre.

The results for the year to 30 March – delayed from Thursday – detail the attempt by the retailer to rebound from what it describes as last year’s “acute financial distress”.

It underwent a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), which allowed it to shut 55 shops and reduce rents.

‘Text book recovery’

It also sold the ELC to the Entertainer for £11.5m and its Watford head office for £14.5m.

There was also a “fracture in the relationship” with the non-executive directors and directors, the company said.

“We remain determined to differentiate Mothercare as a textbook recovery case, in parallel demonstrating that boards can and should foster a greater alignment between their debt and equity providers,” said chairman Clive Whiley.

Even so, the results detail a worst-case scenario – of further falls in sales and margins – under which it could renegotiate its debt.

Mr Newton-Jones – who left last year, only to be rehired a little over a month later – said: “Whilst this major restructuring activity has resigned in significant headline losses for the year, the business is now on a sounder financial footing.”

Losses in the previous financial year were £72.8m.