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Mothercare defies crunch with 9.4pc boost in sales

MOTHERCARE, the baby products retailer, bucked the recession with improved first-quarter sales driven by a growing international business and a weaker currency.<br /><br />The group said its sales rose 9.4 per cent in the 15 weeks to 10 July, with its international division leading the way with a 32.7 per cent rise in retail sales.<br /><br />Underlying UK sales rose 5.1 per cent, while sales at Direct in Home, its home delivery business, grew 17.4 per cent.<br /><br />The group opened 30 new stores overseas during the quarter &ndash; mainly in Eastern Europe and the Middle East &ndash; and now has 639 in total. <br />&ldquo;The international business continues to grow rapidly and was boosted by the weakness of sterling,&rdquo; the company said in a statement. &ldquo;Whilst this has been a positive start to the year, we continue to manage the business tightly in an uncertain global consumer environment.&rdquo;