- Infant merchandise retailer Mothercare said it expected to post a small annual operating loss, as the pandemic hurt sales following a restructure of the struggling group.

Net worldwide retail sales for the three quarters to 2 January had fallen 38% year-on-year to £258 million, the company said.

For the full year, it expected net worldwide retail sales of at least £320 million and invoiced shipments of £80 million.

It added, however, that shipments may be impacted by challenges in the movement of containers from Asia caused by Covid-19, which could delay some into the following financial year.

Mothercare forecast a small loss at the earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation level.

Looking forward, it said revenue was expected to return to more normal levels in the short to medium term.

A shareholder meeting for a vote on the company's switch to an AIM listing and conversion of shareholder loans would be held on 10 February.

'This final phase of the refinancing and restructuring of Mothercare will be marked by our successful admission onto AIM in the next few weeks,' chairman Clive Whiley said.

'We are not immune to the impact of the pandemic on our franchise partners' operations around the world but we emerge in better shape than we went into it.'

'Our resilient performance over the last nine months bears out the robustness of the Mothercare business today.'

'Upon completion of the arrangements that we are asking shareholders to approve at the forthcoming general meeting, Mothercare will face the future as a conservatively financed, cash generative and profitable business for the first time in many years.'

'That is an exciting prospect for all of our staff and stakeholders.'

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