Marks & Spencer has “spring in its step” following strong Christmas sales
Marks & Spencer has said it has a spring in its step after group sales increased by 7.2% year-on-year to over £3.8 billion in the run-up to Christmas.
Food sales rose by 10.5% to £2.3 billion and by 9.9% on a like-for-like basis as supply chain improvements helped to drive better availability year-on-year. Some of the best performing categories included meat, poultry, produce, grocery, and in-store bakery. The retailer’s ‘Remarksable’ value sales also performed well with growth of around 18%.
Stuart Machin, M&S chief executive, said: “In food, we led the market on volume growth every month with a c.7% increase across the quarter, and served more customers than ever before. Core categories grew strongly and renewal stores, which cater to larger basket shops, performed particularly well, as more customers looked to us for more of their full shop.”
Meanwhile, clothing and home sales rose 4.8% to £1.2 billion with the increase driven by growth in average selling price, partly a result of reduced promotions year-on-year. On a like a like-for-like basis, sales were up 4.8%. Store sales increased 2% as new full line stores performed ahead of plan. Online sales grew 10.9%.
Machin added: “In clothing and home, we delivered a good performance with sales growing ahead of the market and less stock going into sale. Womenswear has been the standout, growing volume and value significantly ahead of the market.”
Looking ahead, M&S said will face additional cost increases from higher than anticipated wage and business rates related cost inflation. However, the strong Christmas performance has made it confident that its full year results will meet market expectations.
Machin said: “We enter 2024 with a spring in our step, but clear eyed on the near-term challenges. We are determined to deliver our objective of driving 1% growth in market share in both businesses and to up the pace of our transformation: keeping a relentless focus on trusted value; accelerating our store rotation and renewal plans; doubling down on our supply chain programmes to improve availability and lower costs; and resetting our data, digital and technology strategy to unlock benefits in future years.
“Our vision is to be the most trusted retailer, doing the right thing for our customers, with quality products at the heart of everything we do, and we are just at the beginning of what we can achieve.”