Mother and baby retailer Mothercare has reported a one percent fall in online sales, which it partly blamed on a decision to charge for delivery.
It said that its main brand website, Mothercare.com, did better than its toys website, Elc.co.uk.
In an interim management statement for the 12 weeks to 4 January, the retailer’s chief executive, Simon Calver, said: “Our focus on multichannel has helped mothercare.com to perform well with sales through this channel up over 15 percent and click and collect continues to perform well.
“However, our decision not to repeat last year’s free delivery offer combined with a weak toy market impacted elc.co.uk sales, which resulted in Direct in Home [online] experiencing a reduction during the quarter.”
Mothercare reported a 9.9 percent fall in total UK sales in the last quarter, and the declines in the business have led to the company issuing a profit warning.
“Full year profits are likely to be below the current range of market expectations,” Calver said.
Mothercare has struggled to maintain the momentum that an online presence provided it five years ago, as competition in the market has grown. For example, supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s and Tesco sell childrenswear and other baby products, while Morrisons’s sells baby goods through its acquired online arm, Kiddicare.com.