(This story corrects headline, paragraph 4 in December 10 story to remove reference to going concern risk.)
(Reuters) - Struggling baby products retailer Mothercare Plc (MTC.L) reported a 8.4% drop in half-year worldwide sales on Tuesday, hit by past troubles at its UK operations and tough macroeconomic conditions in the Middle East and China.
The company, which operates 1,010 overseas franchise stores, is dealing with stiff competition from online retailers and rising costs, leading to the collapse of its UK operations last month.
“We believe that without the financial and management burden of running a UK retail operation, we can singularly focus Mothercare on its global international franchise,” said Chief Executive Officer Mark Newton-Jones.
But volatility in its key international markets, including India, Indonesia and Russia, and supply disruptions from closure of UK stores could result into deteriorating trading performance.
Its worldwide sales dropped 8.4% to 452.3 million pounds ($580.30 million) for the 28 weeks to Oct. 12. The reporting period included sales in its UK operations.
However, adjusted pretax loss shrank to 5.8 million pounds in the half-year, from 10.5 million pounds reported a year earlier.
Net debt nearly quadrupled to 24.5 million pounds at the end of the six-month period, from 6.9 million pounds at the end of March.
Mothercare shares, which surged last month following steps to turn profitable by 2021, were marginally higher at 13.4 pence as of 0938 GMT.
Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi and Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Rashmi Aich