Mothercare costs soar

Retail chain Mothercare has revealed that problems at its computerised warehouse drove costs up by 13.8% in the seven months to...

Retail chain Mothercare has revealed that problems at its computerised warehouse drove costs up by 13.8% in the seven months to October.

The company experienced stock availability problems at its 250 stores since moving to the new high-tech warehouse in August 2001.

A fault in "the application of the system to warehouse processes" meant stock could not be found in the warehouse for delivery to the stores, Mothercare said, possibly because of a lack of properly trained staff at the site in Daventry.

In its interim trading statement, published last week, Mothercare said it has restored stock volumes to the required level, but at a "very high cost" of £18.3m. Overall warehouse and distribution costs continue to run at "an unacceptable 8% of sales", the company warned.

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