BABYCARE chain Mothercare produced another strong set of trading figures today as it continues to shield itself against rising cost pressures.
UK revenues on a like-for-like basis were up 3% in the quarter to October 10, with total group sales including international business up by 7%.
Mothercare said the strong performance helped offset increases in costs, including in pensions and the impact of the weak pound on imports.
The company said the positive result in the UK - the seventeenth quarter of growth in a row - reflected strong internet business and the successful addition of Early Learning Centre (ELC) ranges within Mothercare stores.
The company, which acquired ELC for £85 million in June 2007, has 1,060 stores, including 389 outlets in the UK.
It has opened 62 stores in the first half and is on track to meet its target of 100 new overseas sites this year. The company said the brand was gaining increased recognition in China, where it now has four stores, while it will also launch Mothercare in Australia and ELC in South Africa in the coming months.
Shares were broadly unchanged following the second quarter update.
Seymour Pierce analyst Freddie George said the figures were in line with expectations, albeit slightly slower than the first quarter performance.
Across the first half of the year, total sales rose by 8.2%, while UK like-for-like sales were 4.1% higher.
Chief executive Ben Gordon added: "Whilst the economic environment remains uncertain, our first half performance and the strategic initiatives we have taken give us confidence for the rest of the year."