Blog: Leonie BarrieMothercare makes child's play of recession

Leonie Barrie | 18 November 2009

Baby and children's goods retailer Mothercare Plc seems to be making child’s play of the recession, with first-half like-for-like sales up 4.1% and its 17th consecutive quarter of UK sales growth.

Earlier this year, the retailer put its success down to the fact “people keep spending on their babies long after they stop spending on themselves.”

But it has also been helped by new products – including the re-launched M2B maternity range and the 'Baby K' clothing lined designed with celebrity mum Myleene Klass – strong online sales and giant strides in international markets, which have all combined to make it the go-to destination for everything related to pregnancy and early childhood.

And it’s now shaking up its stores too, with plans unveiled today for 31 new parenting centres across the UK – Mothercare's largest and most profitable UK store format – over the next three years.

Crucially, one of the reasons the retailer is able to embark on this ambitious roll-out is the dire state of the UK property market, which means it has been able to negotiate advantageous lease terms and enter key catchments where it would previously have struggled to make a profit.

And landlords should also brace themselves for some more hard bargaining after the retailer warned it would close or relocate more than 90 of its least profitable high street stores where the lease expires within the next three years – unless it can renegotiate rentals.


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