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M&S enjoys online growth

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Marks & Spencer Direct, the internet sales arm of M&S, saw a 25% leap in sales over the Christmas period.

This was the area of the group that saw the fastest growth in the 13 weeks to January 1, a year on from the launch of M&S’ multichannel service, Shop Your Way. Like-for-like sales across the group were up by 2.8%. Sales of general merchandise grew by 3.8%, like-for-like, and food sales by 1.8%.

But the company estimated that its food sales were potentially 1% down as a result of the bad weather, with general merchandise sales down by 3%.

International sales grew by 4.5% in the period, reflecting, said M&S, “a good performance across most of our markets offset by difficult trading conditions in Ireland and Greece.”

Marc Bolland, chief executive of Marks & Spencer, said: “Marks & Spencer traded well through the important Christmas period despite the severe weather as customers continued to return to M&S quality. We delivered a great Christmas for our customers.”

Looking forward the company said it expected trading conditions to be “more challenging as consumers’ disposable incomes come under pressure from increased VAT rates and the impact of public spending cuts.” It added: “We remain cautious about the outlook but are confident that we are well-positioned to meet the changing needs of our customers.”

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