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M&S forecasts 3% rise in clothing prices

Marks & Spencer is likely to increase prices on its clothing by an average of 3% this autumn because of currency fluctuations.

M&S chairman Sir Stuart Rose said no decision had been made on which categories would be hardest hit, but added: “We are all facing adverse movement of currency. Other retailers are expected to increase their prices and we will have to go where the market leads.”

Despite the threat to prices, Rose said M&S’s clothing offer had performed better in the first quarter. He said: “We had a good time on clothing, whether it was the dogtooth jacket, the 125th-anniversary spotted dress, the green bra from the [We boobed] ad campaign or our £4.50 school uniform. In the recession the right styles and colours will still sell.”

M&S said it had gained market share in every clothing category, with total market share up 30 basis points to 10.3% for the 12 weeks to May 24. Rose singled out kidswear as being particularly strong over the period, and said the “We boobed” campaign, in which it cut a surcharge on larger bra sizes, helped boost lingerie market share.

He said: “The young fashion market and discount markets are still doing well, so you can take it that all the others have lost a bit of market share.”

Rose reiterated that he planned to step down in 2010 but not until a replacement had been appointed.

M&S performance

For 13 weeks to June 27

  • UK sales +1.7%
  • UK clothing sales +1.4%
  • UK like-for-like sales -1.4%
  • UK like-for-like sales of general merchandise -2.4%

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