In the news this week… Retail Round-up

Including healthy results for Mothercare, Tesco and WHSmith.

The Source rounds up some of the key retail stories of the week.

Mothercare’s UK business has enjoyed a sales boost for the fourth quarter. The retailer reported a 2.1% lift in UK like for likes for the period, with total UK sales nudging up 0.8%. Online accounted for 35% of the UK total. However, international retail sales dropped 10.8%, and chief executive Mark Newton-Jones admitted that international markets are likely to “remain challenging, with the current trends in space, sales and currency continuing into the new financial year”.

Tesco has reported its first lift in quarterly UK like of likes in three years, while full year sales are also back in the black. UK like for likes in the three months to February 27 were up 0.9%, coming off the back of a 1.3% rise in Christmas UK like for likes. Full year group sales stood at £48.4 billion, up 0.1%, while group pre-tax profits were £162 million from a loss of £6.4 billion the prior year.

Primark has opened its first outlet in Italy. The new Milan store will span 56,000 square feet in the Il Centro shopping centre in Arese.

Beyoncé’s Ivy Park range of ‘athleisurewear’ has launched across 140 Topshop branches in the UK and 32 countries. Every piece in the collection has apparently been signed off by the star, as well as the store design.

WHSmith has reported an 11% increase in half year profits to £80 million, while group like for likes also rose by 2%. The retailer’s travel division was a strong performer, with like for likes up 5%, while high street like for likes were flat. Stationery sales were healthy, driven by investment in new product ranges, while adult activity books (including colouring books) provided a boost.

JD Sports has seen its full-year earnings leap to £157.1 million for the year to January 30. It was bolstered by a sterling performance in its core sports fashion division, recording like for like store sales over 10%, mostly thanks to branded athletic footwear and apparel.

New data from the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor has shown that UK retail sales were flat in March, with like for likes down 0.7%. The clothing sector reported its worst decline in sales since September 2014, with women’s and childrenswear sales down. However, toys and baby equipment grew, driven by demand for outdoor toys and nursery items, while sales of physical book grew for the 11th consecutive month.

Amazon has launched its Prime Now one-hour delivery service in selected postcodes in Surrey, including Camberley, Lightwater and Aldershot. Prime members can choose delivery within one-hour of ordering for £6.99, or free delivery within a choice of two-hour, same-day delivery slots between 8am and midnight, seven days a week.

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