Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mothercare Puts a Halt to Slide in Sales

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mothercare Puts a Halt to Slide in Sales

Article excerpt

Byline: SARAH MARKS

STRUGGLING Mothercare has finally reversed the decline in sales at its UK stores but longterm prospects for the retail group are dogged by continuing distribution problems.

The company said today it had boosted staffing levels at the Daventry warehouse to meet stock requirements over Christmas, but added that further action may be needed to shore up profitability.

Sorting out the servicing and stocking levels cost pound sterling18.3 million in the first half of the year, almost twice as much last year.

Mothercare said attempts with the Daventry manager, Tibbett & Britten, to reduce costs and improve efficiency had not worked.

Distribution costs are running at 8% of sales, which finance director and acting chief executive Mark McMenemy said was unacceptable. The benchmark for the clothing industry is 4%, and he said: "I'd be disappointed if we couldn't get it below 6%." He said options to address this were being "intensively examined". …

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