Mothercare hikes dividend

LONDON (Reuters) - Mothercare <MTC.L>, the mother and baby products retailer, on Wednesday posted a 12.4 percent increase in full-year profit, hiked its dividend by a fifth and said it was well positioned for the new year.

The firm, which trades from 1,014 stores worldwide, said it made an underlying pretax profit of 37.1 million pounds for the year ended March 28.

This was in line with analysts' consensus forecast of 37.2 million pounds, according to Reuters' Estimates, and up from 33.0 million pounds in the previous year.

Sales increased 6.9 percent to 723.6 million pounds and the total dividend was raised 20.8 percent to 14.5 pence.

"Overall, we are well placed as we enter the new financial year," said the retailer.

Shares in Mothercare have risen 6 percent over the last three months, underperforming the FTSE All Share General Retailers Index <.FTASX5370> by 22 percent.

The stock closed Tuesday at 422.5 pence, valuing the business at 370 million pounds.

(Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Mark Potter)

Article Published: 20/05/2009