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Poor sales at Marks and Spencer's website hits trading


Marks and Spencer’s new website has negatively hit sales as it failed to entice consumers to buy more online.

After more than three years in development, M& saw sales fall 8.1 per cent in the 13 weeks to 28 June as chief executive Marc Bolland admitted the new site had “an impact on sales.”

Bolland has previously said the website would take four-to-six months to “settle in” but the news will disappoint shareholders as it failed to build on a 23 per cent online sales surge in 2013.

In a familiar story, general merchandise like-for-like sales fell 1.5 per cent and l-f-l clothing sales fell 0.6 per cent. UK like-for-like sales inched up 0.3 per cent in the first quarter as food sales rose 1.7 per cent on a like-for-like basis.

Marc Bolland, chief executive said: “We have seen a continued improvement in Clothing, although as anticipated the settling in of the new M& site has had an impact on sales.

“We are pleased that the Womenswear business was in growth, driven by full price sales, in line with our increased focus on margin. Our Food business had another great quarter, continuing to outperform the market, through our focus on differentiation through quality and innovation.”

Marks and Spencer said it has received positive customer feedback for the website and would make updates on a regular basis. It said Editor’s Picks, selected looks featured on the site, were up 60 per cent.

Clive Black at Shore Capital said: “We were particularly confused from the call after management stated that M& had good traffic in the period and that it was encouraged by the number of items bought by customers but was disappointed by the conversion rate.

“Presumably, therefore, a lot of customers are not deciding to trade on its website, despite visiting it, which must be a worry.”

Published on Tuesday 08 July by Editorial Assistant

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