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M&S Direct sales jump by nearly half

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Online sales at M&S rose sharply in the first quarter of its financial year.

According to its interim management statement, sales at M&S Direct were up by 49% in the 13 weeks to July 3. That contrasts with a rise in total group sales of 4.4%. UK like-for-like sales rose by 3.6%.

The company said its multichannel ordering service, Shop Your Way, was now up and running in more than 400 stores. Shop Your Way, introduced in 2009, allows customers to order clothes, beauty and homeware orders in store, online or over the phone, to be delivered to their home or to their nearest store. It is available both at M&S shops and Simply Food outlets.

Across the group, the categories that saw the highest growth were in clothing (+7.4%) and food (+2.9%).

Marc Bolland, incoming chief executive, said: “We have continued to grow market share across all parts of the business as customers recognised the strength of the Marks & Spencer brand and the great quality and value it represents.”

The company said that while the start to the financial year was good, it was cautious about the outlook for consumer confidence, following the Budget, plans to cut the deficit, and the rise in VAT from 17.5% to 20% that will come in January 2011.

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