Marks & Spencer’s latest trading statement reveals that its food sales increased by 4% during the 13 weeks ending 26 March, growing the retailer’s market share in the UK to 4.3%.
This performance was supported by a continued trend of consumers turning to Marks & Spencer for special occasions, with it seeing its biggest Mother’s Day event to date this year.
Meanwhile, international sales, which include the Republic of Ireland, grew by 3.8%.
Group sales grew by a more conservative rate of just 1.9%. Clothing and Home continued to be areas in which M&S is facing significant challenges, due to price deflation and a flat market.
However, it slowed the rate of decline seen last quarter, making improvements across range and design. Sales of the Autograph clothing line grew by 10%, and the company made moves to reduce the proportion of sales that go to discounted stock.
Its website, M&S.com delivered a strong performance and saw a significant improvement in customer satisfaction scores. This was achieved by improving the website’s speed and making it easier to navigate.
Marks & Spencer also chose to run fewer online-only promotions, so that customers would have a more consistent shopping experience across its channels.
Commenting on the results, Chief Executive, Steve Rowe noted that M&S had seen a mixed performance in the first quarter of 2016.
"Our Food business once again outperformed the market by circa 3.5% pts. Although the sales decline in Clothing and Home was lower than last quarter, our performance remains unsatisfactory and there is still more we need to do," he said.
"Turning around our Clothing and Home business by improving our customer offer is our number one priority."
© 2016 - Checkout Magazine by Jenny Whelan.