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Online expansion puts Mothercare back in the black

25 May 2016 - 12:09 by Simon Crisp

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In the past 12 months major retail chain, Mothercare, has announced that it has managed to return to profitability after four years of making a loss. The main reason for this change of fortune is the company’s decision to embrace safe shopping online as its primary platform for customer engagement, according to Internet Retailing.

Mothercare made a profit of £9.7 million before tax last year, with sales rising by 3.6 per cent across the board. Its e-commerce performance was especially impressive, with a 15 per cent increase in web-based sales recorded.

It has not only made safe shopping online a priority, but has also transformed its real world stores to accommodate a digital-first approach. One aspect of this has been the installation of tablet computers at its bricks and mortar outlets, which customers can use to place online orders while they are out and about.

This move has been so successful that about 41 per cent of all e-commerce purchases made by customers have been channelled through these devices.

In fact, the majority of online orders were made from smartphones or tablets, indicating that the influence of desktop is dwindling. Furthermore, a third of customers who made purchases online chose to then visit a store to pick up their item on the same day, rather than the option for home delivery.

Mothercare chief exec, Mark Newton-Jones, said that the 51 per cent boost in pre-tax profits was a significant win for the company, while also praising the success of the two year campaign to shift its priorities towards total digital dominance.

This is yet more evidence that retailers which are traditionally tied to bricks and mortar outlets can still transform themselves, to take advantage of the rise of online shopping in the UK.