Smiles all round at M&S after merry Christmas that saw market share growth
M&S turned in what it called a “strong” performance for the Christmas quarter on Thursday with the 13 weeks to 31 December seeing total group sales up 9.9% at £3.6 billion.
Within this, the UK Clothing & Home (C&H) division saw an 8.8% rise to £1.179 billion with like-for-like sales 8.6% ahead.
The C&H operation achieved over 10% market share in the period, its highest level since 2015. Its store sales increased 12.8% with “standout early performances from new stores such as Colchester and Chesterfield, which are part of the store rotation programme”.
And its online sales increased 0.7% to £364 million, driven by growth of 33% through the M&S App, with a strong performance for click & collect.
The company said it saw “particularly strong” sales growth in menswear, formalwear increased over 40% and partywear more than doubled. Sales of third-party brands grew around 50% and represented around 8% of online sales in the period. Stock going into the sale was in line with plan and clearance rates to date have been “strong”.
International sales soared 12.5% from a year ago to £312 million this time, with strong retail sales growth in key franchise markets in the Middle East and owned markets, including India
CEO Stuart Machin said the retailer “sustained trading momentum through the peak quarter and both Food and Clothing & Home have delivered strong growth”.
In fact he called the C&H performance “outstanding” and said it helped the firm maintain its market leadership position “with its highest market share in seven years”.
He added that “thanks to our unrivalled quality, innovation and growing style credentials, more customers shopped with M&S over the Christmas period than in recent years”.
The company clearly saw “the benefits of the acceleration in the steps we're taking to reshape M&S as an omnichannel retailer supported by an increasingly promising store rotation programme”.
Its new full-line and “renewal” stores “outperformed expectations”, while click & collect orders increased 20%, “and the competitive advantage of M&S's omnichannel platform” was demonstrated by that surge in third-party brand sales. This was supported by substantial growth in monthly active App users to around 5 million.
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