// M&S group sales rise 29.1% year on year in the 19 weeks to August 14
// The retailer said its core food and fashion divisions performed well and its transformation plan bore fruit
Marks & Spencer has reported strong trading and expects full-year earnings to be better than anticipated.
The retailer disclosed in an unscheduled update that its transformation plan bore fruit.
Group sales rose 29.1 per cent year on year in the 19 weeks to August 14, when its core food and fashion divisions performed well.
Although the outlook is uncertain, M&S said it should deliver profits at the upper end of previous guidance of £300 million to £350 million.
Food sales rose 10.8 per cent compared to last year and 9.6 per cent compared to the same period pre-pandemic.
Retail park stores performed strongly, but hospitality and franchise operations were down versus 2019 as they suffered from lower footfall and disrupted working patterns.
“Despite the variable location performance, overall trading has been ahead of the market,” M&S said.
Clothing and home sales surged 92.2 per cent year on year and were down 2.6 per cent on the same period in 2019.
M&S attributed the performance to its transformation programmes and improvements such as more focused ranges, fewer promotions and a small summer sale than in previous years.
The retailer’s focus on its online growth was reflected in a 61.8 per cent rise in online sales versus 2019/20, while in-store sales were down 19.8 per cent compared to the same period pre-pandemic.
Online sales of home and clothing currently account for 35 per cent of total sales in the category.
International sales increased 39.7 per cent compared to the same period last year despite ongoing Brexit disruption and were down 6.2 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels.