Mixed news for baby clothes firm

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BABY clothes to buggies company Mothercare said first quarter UK sales slumped by more than 10 per cent, but the group’s overseas business is bailing it out with an 11 per cent increase in sales.

The company plans to open 50 stores outside the UK in the second quarter.

Mothercare said new chief executive Simon Calver’s cost-cutting plan, which includes a reduction in UK store numbers from 311 to 200 by 2015, is on track to deliver in the second half of the year.

The babycare firm, which slumped to a £103m loss in the year to March, said 16 stores had closed in the period and its recently revamped website had seen positive sales growth in the last five weeks.

Mothercare has said it expects overseas sales to grow 20 per cent this year.

The group’s trading update covers a tough period for retailers as record levels of rainfall have hit companies across the sector.

It moved its website to a new platform in May, which initially caused disruption, but soon returned to growth.

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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