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Mothercare unveils rise in underlying profits

Mother and baby products retailer Mothercare boosted its turnaround hopes today as it announced a 61% rise in underlying profits to £9.5 million.

Shares rose 18% after the figure beat expectations and it disclosed it had been given more breathing space by its lenders with extended borrowing facilities of £100 million.

The UK business reported a slightly smaller underlying loss of £21.5 million as like-for-like sales fell by 1.9% in the year to March 29 - an improving trend on the 3.6% decline in the previous period.

Web sales grew with click-and-collect representing a third of online orders and mobile devices accounting for 35% of internet traffic.

Chairman Alan Parker painted a brighter picture on current trading after a disappointing end to 2013 followed by a recovery in the first three months of this year.

He said: "This momentum has been maintained into this quarter, and we look forward to sustaining this improvement in the new financial year.

"Underlying group profits are up on last year, but there is a lot more to do."

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