Total UK sales excluding VAT grew 2.7 per cent for high street stalwart Mark & Spencer (M&S) during it first quarter, results released today reveal.
Food was the best performing sector for the variety retailer in the 13 weeks to July 2nd 2011, with sales rising 3.3 per cent like-for-like (LFL) compared to the same period last year whereas general merchandise LFL trade was flat year-on-year.
Group sales jumped 3.2 per cent once VAT is excluding and on the back of these steady trading figures M&S has maintained existing guidance for its full-year targets.
Marc Bolland, CEO of M&S, said: “Marks & Spencer continued to grow market share in both Clothing and Food by offering our customers more choice, great value for money and leading innovation.
“Against the uncertain economic backdrop, we are focused on trading through the short term, while building for the long term growth of the business.”
According to Kantar Worldpanel data, the retailer improved its market share in clothing by 20 base points to 11.7 per cent, and in food by 10 base points to 3.8 per cent during Q1.
Over 500 new food products were launched over the three months and in today’s statement the firm pointed towards the royal wedding in April and the growing trend for dinning at home as reasons for its strong performance in this segment.
Gemma Lovelock, UK MD for retail specialists TLC Marketing Worldwide, commented: “In the stay-at-home culture, M&S is the go-to brand and this is reflected in its resilient food sales. M&S introduced the idea of £10 meal deals for two and they continue to rule Friday and Saturday nights.
“The broader numbers are not mind-blowing but they are stronger than many of its competitors and demonstrate an all-important resilience. M&S has a very loyal customer base and in an ageing population it is coming to its rescue at its time of need.”
The launch of its Fashion Brights range demonstrates Bolland’s attempts to broaden the retailer’s appeal to younger consumers and it seems to have launched with some success.
Online sales through M&S Direct grew 13 per cent in the quarter and international sales were up by 7.8 per cent year-on-year.