Mothercare's new boss has said the UK business needs to modernise if it is to make profits again.

Chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said the business, which has 220 UK shops under the Mothercare and Early Learning Centre brands, "requires investment in its infrastructure, its stores and its head office systems".

Mark Newton-Jones, who has run the business on an interim basis since March, formally took the reins yesterday at a time when the group has rejected a £266 million takeover from US firm Destination Maternity.

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The group said its UK business saw like-for-like sales rise 0.9 per cent but total sales fell 1.2 per cent in the 15 weeks to July 12, while its international arm of 1,221 stores in 59 countries saw sales lift 14.7 per cent.

Mothercare has been closing UK stores and developing its internet offer as part of a bid to turn around its fortunes. In May the group's UK business had £21.5 million losses after sales fell by 7.5 per cent.

The former Shop Direct boss said that "many of the retail practices need ­updating when we compare ourselves to more modern retailers".