UPDATED: Mamas & Papas records '˜positive' Christmas trading
SALES at the Yorkshire-based nursery brand Mamas & Papas rose 2.7 per cent in the six weeks to 13 January as personal shoppers spent record amounts at the company's stores.
Personal shopping, where customers can enjoy a visit to a Mamas & Papas store tailored to their individual needs, now accounts for 18 per cent of UK store sales, up from 10 per cent a year ago. A new website and investment in customer acquisition technology also contributed to double-digit growth in online sales compared with a year ago, the company said.
Best-selling items at the Huddersfield-based company include the Ocarro pushchair, which was recently awarded a Which? Best Buy, plus the Mia Furniture collection and the Welcome to the World clothing range.
A spokesman said: “The results cap a year in which Mamas & Papas continued to invest in its brand and retail proposition.”
Eight stores were refurbished, including the Westfield White City flagship store in London, while new concept stores were opened in Glasgow Fort and Liverpool Speke.
Other recent initiatives include in-store parent-to-be events such as pre and post-birth exercise classes, and a number of successful collaborations, including a lounge and sleepwear range with Bloom and Blossom as well as an exclusive changing bag collection with Tiba + Marl.
Jason Greenwood, the chief executive, said: “Against a backdrop of difficult trading conditions on the high street, we’re pleased to have delivered another positive performance without compromising our premium credentials.
“We have continued to invest heavily in our unique in-store experience so that we can consistently deliver the highest level of service and product quality that our customers - millennial parents and parents-to- be – rightly expect.”
“While more and more of our customers choose to shop online, it’s clear they also continue to really value a personalised service that click-and- collect just cannot replicate.”
Mr Greenwood added: “The outlook for consumer spending remains uncertain, but based on our recent trading performance we can look forward to the year ahead with cautious optimism.”
Mamas & Papas is owned by private equity firm Blue Gem Capital Partners. David and Luisa Scacchetti, who founded the business in 1981, retain a minority shareholding in the group.
Mamas & Papas was established by Mr and Mrs Scacchetti because they claimed it was hard to find nursery goods for their daughters Olivia and Amanda as stylish as those in their native Italy.
The company’s profile has been boosted by a number of showbusiness clients including Victoria Beckham and Geri Halliwell of the Spice Girls.
DAVID and Luisa Scacchetti built a global brand around a simple message ; parenthood should be fun.
The couple couldn’t stand the dowdy nursery goods of 1970s’ Britain.
Speaking in 2007, Mrs Scacchetti told The Yorkshire Post: “In 1979, David and I were shopping for our first daughter, Amanda, and were unable to find the products that we wanted in the UK. I thought the colours were very drab.”
The couple decided to establish Mamas & Papas, which opened its first store in 1998.
Today, the business has 31 stores in the UK and employs 879 people.