MOTHERCARE posted a bigger-than-expected drop in quarterly sales in its main British market and said profit margins would suffer as it battles a tough consumer outlook.
Sales at UK stores open at least a year fell 4.1 per cent in the 15 weeks to 10 July.
The fall offset a 20.3 per cent rise in Mothercare’s overseas sales and sent its shares tumbling – they closed 3.98 per cent lower at 530p yesterday.
Meanwhile, the company also said it had bought the Blooming Marvellous maternity brand.
The firm – which caters for mums-to-be who want fashionable maternity wear as well as offering a range of clothes and toys – was founded in 1983 as a mail order company.
Mothercare chairman Ian Peacock said: “In the UK we continue to plan cautiously for the remainder of this year.”
He added: “In this context, we expect to invest further margin in our customer offer which will be offset, in part, by cost savings and our property restructure.”
Mothercare has 1,115 stores in 52 countries.