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UK's M&S Reports Strong Christmas Sales In Food And Clothing

Marks & Spencer has reported strong Christmas sales, with demand for turkeys helping to deliver its highest ever share of the food market and party-wear boosting its clothing sales.

Stuart Machin, chief executive said that M&S outperformed the market in food in both volume and value in the four-week Christmas period for the second year running, while it maintained market leadership in clothing and home with its highest share in seven years.

"This performance across both our businesses provides confidence in delivering our full-year results," he commented.

Seasonal Lines 

The British retailer's high-end food offer traditionally appeals to shoppers at Christmas, and 2022 was no exception despite increasing economic pressure on consumers.

It benefited from improved availability of seasonal lines including turkeys, where it said it retained its leading market share for the third year running.

However, it said its 'Remarksable Value' offer also performed strongly. As a whole, it reported a better-than-expected increase in like-for-like food sales of 6.3%.

Clothing and home sales rose 8.6%.

Inflation Impact

The retailer's strong performance adds to evidence that shoppers were determined to spend at Christmas despite inflation running at 10.7% and consumer confidence close to record lows.

M&S International sales increased 12.5% at constant currency, with a strong performance in key franchise markets in the Middle East and owned markets including India in the 13 weeks to 31 December.

However it remained cautious about the wider economic environment, saying there were "clear macro-economic headwinds ahead and underlying cost pressures", but it was confident its full-year results would meet its guidance.

It has already forecast profit to fall in its 2022-23 year, having warned in November of a "gathering storm" of higher costs and pressure on household budgets.

News by Reuters, edited by Donna Ahern, Checkout. For more retail stories, click here. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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