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Marks & Spencer clothing sales rise 1.1% at Christmas

Clothing sales at Marks & Spencer increased 1.1% in the 13 weeks to December 31, as the retailer said it recorded its biggest ever quarter in kidswear.

Like-for-like sales of general merchandise, which includes clothing and home, dipped by 1.8% during the period in what the retailer described as “challenging” trading conditions. Overall the retailer posted UK like-for-like growth of 0.5%.

Total UK sales, excluding VAT, advanced 1.8%. Group sales rose 2.4% in the period.

Chief executive Marc Bolland said: “In Clothing our focus was on offering our customers real value at a time when they’re managing their budgets carefully.”

Fashion Sales

The retailer said its trading strategy for clothing worked well, delivering a “record” performance in many categories including menswear and sleepwear. It continued to invest in offering its customers good value during the period leading to a record performance in kidswear for the quarter.

Online & International

Sales at M&S Direct, its online and multichannel arm, were up 22.4%. International sales increased 8.1% reflecting continued growth in India and Shanghai, as well as in the retailer’s franchise business. The retailer also said it had enjoyed a good start to trading at its Paris flagship store which opened in November.

Challenging Outlook

The retailer said it expected trading conditions to remain challenging and is cautious about the outlook for the year ahead. In its results statement the retailer said: “Our focus will be on offering customers great value and quality at a time when they are managing their budgets carefully.”

M&S will report its fourth quarter trading statement on April 17 for the thirteen weeks ending March 31.

Readers' comments (1)

  • These aren't good figures for M&S which ever way they are dressed up. The last quarter has been much improved for many retailers, so 1.1 % - once inflation has been factored in - is a decrease. M&S are too focused on 'value', when infact, most customers would rather pay more for better quality, which is what M&S used to do, until they started going away from what they did best - quality.

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