M&S reins in clothing decline amid Q1 results

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M&S Q1

Marks & Spencer saw an improvement in its ailing fashion division in its first quarter after numerous high profile appointments and a restructure aimed at turning around its fortunes.

In the 13 weeks to July 1, M&S saw clothing and home like-for-like sales drop 1.2 per cent, improving dramatically on the 5.9 per cent drop seen in the fourth quarter of its last fiscal year.

Total sales dipped 0.5 per cent in the same period to £825.1 million, but the retailer hailed a seven per cent growth in full-price clothing sales as it moves away from discounting models.

Meanwhile, food like-for-likes stayed flat in the first quarter, showing a marginal 0.1 per cent dip. On a total basis, food sales saw a 4.5 per cent jump to £1.4 billion.

This propped up total UK sales, which saw a 2.6 per cent boost to £2.26 billion alongside a group sales boost of 2.7 per cent to £2.53 billion – marking a 3.8 per cent boost in international sales year-on-year.

READ MORE: M&S to see more positive quarter as clothing arm gets back on track

Despite the £272 million contribution from its international estate, the department store chain closed 28 of its 58 international stores, seeing a four per cent decline in sales on a constant currency basis.

“Trading in the first quarter was in line with our expectations and we are on track with delivery of the plan we announced last year,” chief executive Steve Rowe said.

“I am pleased that we continue to grow full price sales in clothing and home, with reduced discounting and no clearance sale in the quarter.

“In our food business, we delivered strong growth from new Simply Food openings, and are prioritising better ranging and stronger promotions.”

The retailer stated that its full year estimates remain the same following today’s update, and will hold its AGM later today.

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