Mothercare said trading conditions had been tougher than expected after UK like-for-like sales fell 1.9% in the 13 weeks to October 12.

Margins were squeezed by promotions in the home and travel products while autumn and winter clothing ranges suffered the same warm weather challenges as the rest of the sector but gained market share.

The retailer closed five loss-making UK stores in the period as part of its plan to downsize to an estate of around 200 by 2015. It has 191 Mothercare outlets and 46 Early Learning Centre stores.

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