UK retailer Mothercare has reported that total groups sales fell by 9.2% for the 15 weeks ending 13 July.
The company noted that the negative impact was driven by the extensive store closure programme.
The retailer reported a 23.2% decline in total UK sales for the period, lower than last year, and international retail sales declined by 4.5% in constant currency.
The company’s online sales declined by 12.1% due to the impact of store closure programme and the loss of iPad sales in those stores.
In its FY20 Q1 Trading Update, Mothercare CEO Mark Newton-Jones noted that the ‘gross margin improvements in the UK are expected to take longer to materialise than previously anticipated’.
Mothercare expects the medium-term outlook for the UK market to be ‘uncertain and volatile, accompanied by fragile consumer confidence’.
Franchise partners of the retailer continue to invest in the brand, increasing space by 5.6% to 2.7 million square feet across 1,014 stores.
The company currently operates 79 stores in the UK, which is down from 134 stores last year.
Meanwhile, a report by SkyNews said that Mothercare is in negotiations with third parties to offload or separate its store operations in the country.
Mothercare CEO Mark Newton-Jones said: “The process of restructuring and rebuilding a sustainable business continues, and we have in place financing plans to support these actions as we aim to be bank-debt free by the end of the year.
“Our immediate priority is to complete the transformation of the business with a near-term focus on evolving and optimising the ownership, structure and model for our UK retail operations as an independent franchise.
“We will provide a further update at our Interims Announcement on the 28 November this year.”