• H1 pre-tax profits up 11.1%
  • Sales rose 7.9% to GBP387.3m
  • Plans to open 31 new parenting centres

Baby and children's goods retailer Mothercare Plc today (18 November) revealed plans to open 31 new parenting centres across the UK after posting a strong first-half performance in both its UK and international businesses.

The out-of-town parenting centres - Mothercare's largest and most profitable UK store format - will be rolled out over the next three years, including at least 10 in the current financial year.

The stores will feature its re-launched M2B fashionable maternity ranges and the 'Baby K' clothing range, designed in conjunction with celebrity mother Myleene Klass.

The retailer said it also intends to open 12 new 'landmark' stores in key city centres and shopping malls.

The plans were unveiled as Mothercare booked an 11.1% rise in pre-tax profits in the period ended 10 October, up to GBP10.0m, from GBP 9.0m a year earlier.

However, including accounting adjustments, Mothercare said its pre-tax losses were GBP7.1m for the first-half.

Sales rose 7.9% to GBP387.3m, boosted by a 29.6% rise in international sales. UK sales were up 2.7%, with like-for-likes up 4.0%.

"With the strength of our two global brands [Mothercare and the Early Learning Centre], our rapidly growing international platform, a reducing UK cost base and debt free business, we are well placed as we enter the important second half," said chief executive Ben Gordon.

The retailer, which operates 1,060 stores in 51 countries - 389 in UK and 694 overseas - also said it expects to open an extra 15 overseas store in its fiscal year, taking the total to 115.

Included are the launch of Mothercare in Australia and Early Learning Centre in South Africa and 10 stores in China.