Like-for-likes in Marks & Spencer’s clothing and home division slipped by 1.2% in the first quarter, but full-price sales rose 7% after it made further adjustments to its promotional calendar.
Total clothing and home sales were down 0.5% to £852.1m for the 13 weeks to 1 July – slowing from the 2.8% fall reported for the year to 1 April. However, the timing of Easter was estimated to have increased revenue growth in clothing and home by around 0.6%.
Overall revenue, including its food division, rose 2.7% year on year to £2.5bn during the quarter. International sales were up 3.8% year on year, and online sales rose 5.8%.
M&S reduced the number of promotions it held and pushed its clearance Sale back to this week – a week later than last year.
It also reported a significant decrease in the amount of stock going into the Sale.
Chief executive Steve Rowe said: “Trading in the first quarter was in line with our expectations and we are on track with delivery of the plan we announced last year. I am pleased that we continue to grow full-price sales in clothing and home, with reduced discounting and no clearance Sale in the quarter.”
The results come as former Halfords boss Jill McDonald prepares to take up the newly created role of managing director for M&S’s clothing and home division. Her start date has yet to be confirmed.