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Online now worth more than 20% of Mothercare’s UK business

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Nursery equipment-to-clothing retailer Mothercare today said that online now accounts for more than 20% of its UK business.

Sales in its Direct division, are split between orders placed online at home, and those placed online in the store. Those sales totalled £126.8m in the retailer’s latest financial year, up by 18.2% compared to the previous year, according to its full-year results published today. Of that figure, £72.4m were Direct in Home sales, up by 16.3% on the previous year, while Direct in Store sales totaled £54.4m, a rise of 20.6%. Mothercare also owns the Early Learning Centre.

The online figures come against a 3% like-for-like rise in UK sales in the year to March 27 2010. UK sales totalled £590.3m, while total group sales came in at £766.4m, up from £723.6m in the previous year. Underlying pre-tax profits were £37.2m, up from £36.9m at the same time last year.

Chief executive Ben Gordon said: “The growth of Direct reflects the transformation of retailing with stores increasingly acting more as showrooms. This is particularly true for our extensive range of nursery furniture, pushchairs and car seats.”

Mothercare said it was expanding its product ranges online. It said a much wider choice of goods was now available online at the Early Learning Centre, where the company is rolling out a Widest Choice programme. And the company said its social networking site, fully owned by Mothercare since September, was growing rapidly.

The Direct channel is now one of Mothercare’s key growth channels, alongside UK retailing, wholesale and international franchises. Internationally the retailer now operates in India, China, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific as well as Europe.

Gordon said: “International had a record year and we ended the year with a total of 1,115 stores worldwide in 52 countries.”

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