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M&S says strategy on track as it reports rising online and offline sales

M&S says strategy on track as it reports rising online and offline sales

Marks & Spencer today said its strategy was on track as it reported rising sales both online and offline.

The multichannel food-to-clothing retailer, an Elite trader in IRUK Top500 research, turned over £184.8m online in the first quarter of its financial year, 5.8% more than at the same time last year.

Overall group sales for the 13 weeks to July 1 came in at £2.5bn, 2.7% ahead of last time, while UK sales of £2.3bn were 2.6% ahead of last time in total, but down by 0.5% on a like-for-like (LFL) basis that strips out the effect of store openings and closures.

Clothing sales of £852.1m were down by 1.2% LFL, while food sales were down by 0.1% LFL but up by 4.5% in total.

Chief executive Steve Rowe said: “Trading in the first quarter was in line with our expectations and we are on track with 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. In our food business, we delivered strong growth from new Simply Food openings, and are prioritising better ranging and stronger promotions.”

That strategy has worked towards reducing discounting, and the retailer said that full price clothing and home sales rose by 7% as the number of promotions fell – including not holding a clearance sales in the quarter. Overall revenue in the category, however, fell.

Food sales grew by 4.5%, in line with the M&S strategy of increasing the number of Simply Food stores over the course of the next two years. The retailer said it was looking at “improving ranging in store and delivering stronger promotions in a competitive market”.

International sales were up by 3.8% thanks to the weakness of sterling – but down by 4% when currency fluctuations are taken into account. M&S has now closed 28 of 53 stores in the markets it is pulling out of.

In its full-year results statement, published in May, M&S said its strategic focus was on quality, innovation and convenience.

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