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Marks & Spencer celebrates third quarter like-for-like sales growth

Marks & Spencer has reported a 1.3% increase in UK third quarter like-for-like sales with both its food and clothing and homeware categories showing an uplift.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Marks & Spencer celebrates third quarter like-for-like sales growth

In the 13 weeks to 31 December, like-for-like clothing and homeware sales rose by 2.3% while food sales edged up 0.6%.

On a total basis, UK sales rose by 4.5% while group sales increased by 5.9%.

Steve Rowe, Marks & Spencer chief executive, said: “I am pleased with the customer response we have seen to the changes we are making in line with our plan for the business. I would like to thank the whole team for their hard work over this busy period.

“In clothing & home, better ranges, better availability and better prices helped to improve our performance in a difficult marketplace. We also continued to substantially reduce discounting, including over Black Friday.

“Our food business continues to grow market share with customers recognising our product as special and different. Our Simply Food store pipeline remains strong.”

Within the clothing and home category, the retailer substantially reduced sales on promotion in the period, with fewer category promotions particularly over Black Friday. Stock into sale during the quarter declined by around 7% with one fewer clearance event than last year. This resulted in a further improvement in full price sales.

International sales were up 2.9% at constant currency as the retailer benefited from earlier shipments of spring ranges to its franchise partners.

Looking ahead Rowe said: “As we look forward, our Q4 reported numbers will be adversely affected by sale timing and a later Easter. Against the background of uncertain consumer confidence the business remains focused on delivering the strategic actions announced last year.”

The company said its full year guidance remains unchanged.

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