Nov 23, 2017

Mothercare shares drop 15% after falling back into loss

Mothercare slipped back into loss in the first half of the financial year as long-running difficulties in its Middle Eastern business and higher costs cancelled out sales progress in its home market, prompting a heavy fall in the company's stock. Like for like sales in the UK arm picked up in the 28 weeks to October 7, expanding 2.5 per cent year on year, but costs associated with its transformation plan dragged down earnings. International sales were even weaker, falling 8 per cent, and chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said there is still "No clear sight as to when things will bottom out" in the Middle East, where confidence has been hit by weak oil prices and fears of an economic slowdown. As a result, the company reported an adjusted pre-tax loss of £0.7m, down from a profit of £5.9m in the same period last year. Shares in Mothercare fell as much as 19 per cent in early trading, and at publication time were down 15.9 per cent, to 70p..

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