M&S credited its omnichannel strategy as it reported rising sales as shoppers returned to its stores over Christmas both to buy – and to pick up online orders. Click and collect sales grew by 20% over the period, while third-party brand sales grew by 50%, and app users rose by 33%.
Group sales of £3.6bn in the 13 weeks to December 31 were 9.9% up on the same time last year.
Within that, UK sales of £3.3bn were 9.7% up on the same time last year in total – or 7.2% ahead on a like-for-like basis that strips out the effect of store openings and closures. International sales of £312m were 12.5% up on last time.
Food sales of £2.1bn were 10.2% up on last time in total and 6.3% LFL. Clothing and home sales of £1.2bn were up by 9.7% in total and 8.6% LFL. Online clothing and home sales were up by a more modest 0.7%. Ocado Retail sales, through which M&S sells food online, are not included in the update – however M&S says its brand food products represent about 30% of the average basket on ocado.com over the Christmas peak.
Marks & Spencer chief executive Stuart Machin says: “M&S sustained trading momentum through the peak quarter and both food and clothing and home have delivered strong growth.
“M&S Food outperformed the market on volume and value in the critical four-week Christmas period for the second year running and reached its highest ever recorded market share. Clothing and Home delivered another outstanding performance, maintaining its market leadership position with its highest market share in seven years.
“This outperformance was driven by M&S doing what it does best; exceptional product at value you can trust. Thanks to our unrivalled quality, innovation and growing style credentials, more customers shopped with M&S over the Christmas period than in recent years. I would like to thank all our colleagues for the fantastic service they delivered.
“We saw the benefits of the acceleration in the steps we’re taking to reshape M&S as an omnichannel retailer supported by an increasingly promising store rotation programme. Our new full line and renewal stores outperformed expectations, while click and collect orders increased 20%, and the competitive advantage of M&S’s omnichannel platform was demonstrated by delivering c.50% growth in third party brand sales. This was supported by substantial growth in monthly active app users to c.5m.”
The retailer says that inflation means it will be taking action to cut costs. Machin says: “Our singular focus is on delivering the M&S Reshaped programme to drive growth and value creation as the UK’s leading omnichannel retailer. This performance across both our businesses provides confidence in delivering our full year results.”
Marks & Spencer is a Leading retailer in RXUK Top500 research.