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Marks & Spencer sees dip in general merchandise sales

Marks & Spencer has reported a setback in its attempts to revive its non-food sales as general merchandise sales dipped in the 13 weeks to 27 June.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Marks & Spencer sees dip in general merchandise sales

Marks & Spencer has reported a setback in its attempts to revive its non-food sales as general merchandise sales dipped in the 13 weeks to 27 June.

Like-for-like sales in its clothing and homewares business edged down 0.4% in what the retailer described as a “challenging and promotional” first quarter. On a total basis, sales increased by 0.2%.

Food sales fared better, growing by 0.3% on a like-for-like basis and by 3.2% on a total basis as the retailer launched 700 new lines including the new Taste of the British Isles range. Marks & Spencer said it is on track to open around 90 Simply Food stores this year, and continues to see good performance from stores opened to date.

Online sales climbed by 38.7% in the period. The retailer said improvements made in both its new website and distribution centre delivered results, with key customer metrics including traffic, conversion and customer satisfaction, all up on the year.

Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland said: “We continue to make progress against our key priorities. Our food business did very well in a difficult market. In general merchandise, sales were broadly level on last year and we are on track to deliver the planned increase in gross margin. M&S.com performance was very strong, with customers appreciating all the improvements to our website.”

Marks & Spencer’s international business showed modest growth of 0.7%, despite a challenging macro-economic environment, with key markets such as India and Hong Kong performing well.  

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