Marks and Spencer (M&S) has reported a 4.8% rise in online sales to £1.2 billion, with growth in click-and-collect sales, active app users and Sparks loyalty membership.
In the 52 weeks that ended 1 April 2023, the omnichannel retailer saw total revenues grow by 9.6% to £11.9 billion, compared with the same period last year.
Online sales were up 5% and are over double pre-Covid levels, now accounting for 22% of international clothing and home sales.
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Clothing and home sales increased by 11.5% to £3.72 billion, after soaring in-store sales, with more shoppers flocking to the high-street post-pandemic.
The company added that click-and-collect sales saw a 20% rise, with over one-third of customers placing orders via the M&S App.
The M&S App and associated Sparks memberships continued to grow with average active App users increasing by 40% to 4.3 million, M&S revealed. This was supported by sign-up campaigns, which included ’12 days of Sparks’ in December.
Customer orders also grew 12.6%, despite the effects of courier capacity constraints over peak trading, resulting in the retailer seeing a 5% reduction in online adjusted profits, compared with 9.1% in the same period last year.
As a result, the retailer attributed the drop to “sourcing cost pressures” which “reduced gross margin and planned investments in digital and omnichannel improvements to drive future growth.”
Meanwhile, M&S’ food arm saw an 8.7% to £7.22 billion, compared to the same period last year.
“One year in, our strategy to reshape M&S for growth has driven sustained trading momentum, with both businesses continuing to grow sales and market share,” CEO Stuart Machin said.
“Our food and clothing and home businesses invested in value to protect customers from the full force of inflation which, whilst impacting margin, was the right thing to do, as serving our customers well is the only route to delivering for our shareholders.”
He added: “Sales were up in-store and online, supported by growth in click and collect sales, active App users and Sparks loyalty membership; demonstrating the emerging power of our omnichannel model.
“The store rotation and renewal programme delivered strong sales uplifts and will accelerate this year, including the opening of five brand-defining full-line stores in major cities.
“Our disciplined approach to capital allocation means we can invest for growth, while further reducing net debt and maintaining investment grade credit metrics, and we plan to resume dividend payments at our interim results.”
He concluded: “Despite facing significant headwinds, I am encouraged by the strong foundations established last year and excited about what we can achieve in the year ahead.“