Marks & Spencer increased its clothing market share by value across all categories by 30 basis points to 11%, after it posted a 4.6% rise in full-year pre-tax profits to £632.5m in the year to March 27.
M&S added that it held its volume market share in clothing at 11.2% during the year over the 52 week period ended March 28..
Sales in M&S’s general merchandise division, which includes the performance of clothing, increased by 4% in the 52 weeks to March 27. Within that, clothing reported a 4.3% sales rise.
General merchandise like-for-likes rose 1.6% over the year.
“In clothing, we grew market share in all areas and catered for customers looking for both great value wardrobe staples and quality investment pieces.”
Sir Stuart Rose, chairman, Marks & Spencer
‘Clarity and newness’
M&S said that it maintained its position as the UK’s leading clothing retailer by volume and value by providing “strong fashion trends at great value” and further developing its brands to “deliver more clarity and newness”.
M&S added that there had been improved customer perceptions about price in clothing.
The retailer attributed a margin gain of 70 basis points during the year to better sourcing and tighter stock control and mark down control.
M&S added that the consolidation of all general merchandise buying under the leadership of clothing boss Kate Bostock had helped to forge closer links between its design teams, resulting in “more co-ordinated ranges, faster response times, and improved style credentials.”
M&S grew its womenswear market share from 10.5% to 10.7% during the year.
M&S said its female customers had begun to show signs that they felt more confident about spending on clothes and were buying investment pieces such as coats and leather boots and versatile wardrobe staples such as tunics, leggings and casual shirt dresses. M&S said it responded to this trend by increasing its “proportion of higher priced ranges” whilst maintaining its “opening price point competitiveness”.
The retailer said it had attracted new, younger customers via its Limited Collection and had grown its share of the casualwear market through its Indigo collection. During the year it relaunched Per Una and said it was working on “careful editing” of the ranges.
Lingerie market share increased from 25.2% to 25.9% after M&S realigned its ranges to match its womenswear proposition, with Limited Collection lingerie replacing its Ceriso sub-brand and Portfolio replacing Adored to give “more consistent brand identity”. It also improved availability.
Menswear, which M&S said was beginning to attract younger customers thanks to its slim-fit shirts and suits in particular, grew market share by 20 basis points to 10.4% during the period. During the year the retailer relaunched its Collezione tailoring collection to focus on its smart Italian-inspired roots.
Kidwear performed well, with its market share increasing to 6.1% from 5.4% last year. M&S remained the leader in schoolwear sales. It added it had made its kidswear brands “easier to identify”.
M&S added that it had simplified its supply chain and in kidswear had introduced a “single touch” process to reduce lead times and the number of times stock is handled.
M&S said that it outperformed the online clothing market and grew total online market share to 5.6% up from 5.3%. Total sales at its Direct arm rose 27% to £413m.
‘Sir Stuart Rose: Good year’
M&S chairman Sir Stuart Rose said: “Marks & Spencer has had a good year. We have improved performance in all core areas, demonstrating the resilience of the M&S brand. We took action to guide M&S through the recession without losing sight of what matters most to our customers – quality and value.”
“In clothing, we grew market share in all areas and catered for customers looking for both great value wardrobe staples and quality investment pieces,” he added.
Total adjusted pre-tax profits at M&S rose 4.6% to £632.5m on group sales up 3.2% to £9.3bn in the year. Total UK like-for-likes jumped 0.9%.
Rose, who is set to step down as chairman in March 2011, added that he was confident that M&S was “well set for growth” under the leadership of Marc Bolland, who joined from supermarket Morrisons as chief executive this month.
However, Rose remained cautious about the year to come and said consumers were concerned about any impact on them from the emergency Budget on June 22.
The figures reported covered a 52-week period, which the retailer said better reflected underlying performance than the 53 weeks formally constituting the last financial year. However statutory pre-tax profit fell from £706.2m to £702.7m over the 53-week period which ended on April 3..