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M&S chalks up near 30% rise in online sales as multichannel services improve

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Marks & Spencer today reported a near 30% rise in online sales, as customers used new multichannel services.

News of the 29.9% rise in M& sales in the first quarter of its financial year came as the retailer of food, clothing and household goods today reported a 3.3% rise in group sales. The multichannel retailer said in today’s interim management statement that online growth had seen customers “responding well to to the improvements made to the service proposition such as free next-day delivery to stores.”

The company’s new web platform is now scheduled for launch next spring.

Total UK sales rose by 2.7% in the 13 weeks to June 29, with growth in food (+4.5%) outstripping a more modest, 0.5% rise in general merchandise. Like-for-like sales, which strip out the effect of store openings and closures, rose by 0.3%, with food up by 1.8% and general merchandise sales down by 1.6%. Beyond ecommerce, the second-fastest growth was in international sales, which rose by 8.7%.

Marc Bolland, chief executive, said the company continued to “make good progress with our plans to transform M&S into an international, multichannel retailer,” with “strong” M& sales.

He added: “Our general merchandise business showed some improvement this quarter and the food business delivered another excellent performance, continuing the strong, underlying trend.”

He said the new autumn/winter collection, which has been masterminded by style director Belinda Earl, former chief executive of Debenhams and Jaeger, would arrive in stores and online from the end of July.

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