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M&S aims for £1bn in multichannel revenues

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Retailer M&S today said it was targeting multichannel sales of up to £1bn as it laid out a three-year plan for growth.

The retailer expects to grow its multichannel business to sales of between £800m to £1bn by 2013/14, while at the same time growing total group revenues to between £11.5bn and £12.5bn. Of that, up to £1.5bn in new turnover is expected to come from the UK.

The update came as the retailer unveiled pre-tax profits of £348.6m in the six months to October 2 2010, up by 16.9% from £298.3m compared to the same time last year. Sales rose by 5.4% to £4.6bn. Within the UK, sales rose by 5.6% while international sales were up by 3.8% on the back of 20 new store openings.

This is the first time chief executive Marc Bolland has laid out his strategy for the future of the company since taking over from Sir Stuart Rose in May.

Today Bolland said: “Over the first three years we will build our multichannel and international capability. This will develop M&S into an international multichannel retailer, making the M&S brand more accessible to more customers around the world.”

In order to achieve this, it aims to build a new platform for in order to provide a “customised multichannel experience that links all our channels for our customers.” This will replace the Amazon-based platform that currently underlies the business and is contracted to run until late 2013.

The company aims to grow its online wine, flower, and food-to-order business from £80m to £150m by 2013/2014. Innovations will include the introduction of touch-screen, web-based ordering points in stores. The online offer will go international in one market in 2011, with tailored local websites for local international markets from 2013.

This will come as M&S moves from being “a UK retailer that exports” to a more international retailer, with the strategic aim of reducing its dependency on the UK economy. Over the next three years it plans to build a leadership position in its priority markets, rather than “planting flags”.

Within UK stores the retailer plans to focus on clothing, food and homeware sales, making the latter more accessible online and developing innovative quality food products. More Simply Food stores will be opened and the look and layout of stores will be updated.

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