Marks & Spencer sales lift


Marks & Spencer, M&SBritish high street retailer, Marks & Spencer, has posted rising fourth quarter sales, boosted by strong performances for clothing and food, and also at its international division.

Sales climbed 1.9 per cent in the 13 weeks to March 29, compared with the same period of the group’s previous financial year, M&S said in a trading update on Thursday.

In home market Britain, sales grew 1.5 per cent, but fell by 0.2 per cent on a like for like basis that strips out the impact of new floor space.

M&S added that clothing sales rallied 1.3 per cent in the reporting period, aided by “clear signs” of a recovery in womenswear.

Food sales jumped 2.5 per cent, despite the later timing of the Easter holiday, while general merchandise added 0.2 per cent.

Sales at stores outside Britain jumped 4.7 per cent, aided by strength in India, China, and in the Gulf.

“We delivered another quarter of improvement in general merchandise,” said CEO Marc Bolland.

He added: “We are encouraged by womenswear, which is showing clear signs of improvement and performed ahead of clothing.

“Our food business had another great quarter, especially considering the later timing of Easter. This marks our 18th consecutive quarter of growth.”

Looking ahead, the group expressed caution, despite the upbeat numbers.

“Despite some improvement in consumer confidence, we remain cautious about the outlook,” added the firm.

“Our focus is on continuing to transform Marks & Spencer into an international, multi-channel retailer.”

The retail group will publish its full-year results on May 20.


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