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Mothercare posts 18% rise in ecommerce sales, and says 82% of its traffic now comes from mobile

Mothercare looks to digital in challenging market

Mothercare today said 82% of its online sales are now placed via mobile. The figure came after a year in which its online sales rose by 18% to £138m to account for 30% of total UK sales.

The retailer, which sells equipment and clothing for babies and young children, is currently working through a transformation plan to become a digitally-led business. In its latest financial year, it said, 36% of its online sales were collected in store through click-and-collect services, while mobile represented 82% of its online sessions.

The figures came as Mothercare reported worldwide sales of £1.2bn in the year to March 28, 1% ahead of the same time last year. International accounted for 62% of worldwide sales. Total group sales of £713.9m were 1.5% down on last time.

In the UK, total sales of £458.1m were down by 0.9%, but like-for-like sales, which strip out the effect of store openings and closures, were 2% ahead of last year. This time last year, they were 1.9% down.

Underlying pre-tax profits of £13m were 36.8% ahead of last year, but after one-off costs of £32m, including the £25.9m costs of its store closure programme, the company reported a bottom-line loss of £13.1m, a 50.2% improvement on the £26.3m loss it reported at this time last year.

The six pillars of the company’s strategy include becoming a digitally-led business supported by a modern retail estate, selling innovative and high quality products profitably, while running a lean organisation and expanding further overseas.

Its digital strategy this year spanned store and online. The retailer introduced iPads into all of its stores in the second quarter of the year, enabling staff to show customers the wider range and place online orders, while also introducing a finance package with applications made online through the tablet computer. As a result, online orders from the store rose by 48% during the year. In the year ahead the company said it would continue to invest in its online platform.

The company has also trialled new store formats while closing 31 under performing stores, to take it to a total of 189 stores. The coming year will see it modernise and refurbish between 35 and 40 stores while closing between 25 and 30 under performing stores.

Chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said: “We are making good progress against all six pillars of our strategy and we will continue to build from this platform in the year ahead. There is still much to do and trading conditions may remain challenging, but we will stay singularly focused on our vision of being the leading global retailer for parents and young children.”

Mothercare is ranked as a Leading company in the IRUK 500, Internet Retailing’s ranking of ecommerce and multichannel retailers, and is among the Leading retailers in the Mobile and Cross-channel dimension.

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