Marks & Spencer sales edge up

Buoyant trading in food halls offsets poor sales figures in clothing

M&S sales edge ahead driven by a 4 per cent jump in sales in the food department. Photo: PA

M&S sales edge ahead driven by a 4 per cent jump in sales in the food department. Photo: PA

Thu, Apr 11, 2013, 08:08

Marks & Spencer reported sharply contrasting fortunes today as buoyant trading in its food halls helped offset more dismal sales figures in clothing.

Announcing its strongest growth in two years, M&S said overall like-for-like sales excluding changes in store space were up 0.6 per cent in the 13 weeks to March 30.

The improvement was driven by a 4 per cent jump in sales in the food department as consumers showed signs of trading up to the retailer in light of the horse meat scandal affecting a number of supermarkets.

Clothing sales remained under pressure, with the cold weather and weak consumer confidence forcing M&S to increase promotional activity in March.

Like-for-like sales were down 3.8 per cent in general merchandise but this was better than a number of City forecasts.

PA