- Ailing baby goods retailer Mothercare reported sharply lower UK sales in the third quarter as it continued plough through a turnaround plan.

UK like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to 5 January fell 11.4% on-year, which the company pinned on a difficult consumer backdrop and heavy discounting boosting sales in the previous year.

Online sales fell 16.3% reflecting lower website views, lower iPad sales in stores and a smaller toy offering.

International sales fell 3.2%, though the fall was smaller, at 1.1%, in constant currency terms.

Mothercare said it was on track to deliver at least £19m of annualised cost savings.

Its UK store closure programme was ahead of schedule, with 36 currently in 'closing down mode'.

Those closures would be complete by April and the company said it was on course to have 79 stores by the end of March 2019, down from 137 in May 2018.

'Whilst the UK continues to be challenging, in part as a result of our planned restructuring, we are still on course to deliver the necessary transformation,' chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said.

'Looking ahead, our international business continues to show signs of recovery, although we expect market conditions in the UK to remain challenging with further disruption until April from our store closure programme.'

'However, given the pace of our strategic transformation plan, our full year profit guidance is unchanged.'

At 9:20am: [LON:MTC] Mothercare PLC share price was +0.43p at 15.95p

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