Ailing Retailer Mothercare Reports £103m Loss

Mothercare has reported a £102.9m loss in a tumultuous year which saw many of its UK stores face closure, its share price plummet and its chief executive replaced.

Although underlying profit came in at £1.6m, the retailer faced a one-off exceptional charge of £104.4m on top as part of its restructuring plan.

UK sales fell by nearly 5% over the year as competition from supermarkets and online retailers increased, although its performance overseas continued to thrive.

Although Mothercare has previously said it will be closing shops in Britain , it has announced that it will open more stores in the BRIC nations - Brazil, Russia, India and China - in an effort to boost international sales by 20% each year.

British firms are increasingly dependent on overseas sales, both on the high street and online, for their profits.

At Asos , the internet-based clothing firm aimed at 16 to 34-year-old women, overall retail sales rose 49% boosted by a doubling in sales abroad to £284m.

International retail sales accounted for 59% of the total and the company launched new websites in Italy, Spain and Australia but ships to 190 countries from its new 530,000 sq ft warehouse in Barnsley.

Last year, UK retail sales rose 25%, but growth in its home market this year slowed to 7%.

The company announced a 93% rise to £30.3m profit before tax, compared with £15.7m the previous year.