M&S sales hit nearly £3bn after strong Christmas

Marks & Spencer (M&S) reported overall sales of £2.9 billion in the third quarter of the year.

As a result of strong performance during the period, the company believes it is able to deliver the increased guidance set in November last year, expecting full year pre-tax profits of at least £500 million.

The multinational retailer’s food business generated its highest ever Christmas sales. In comparison to the 13 weeks to 28 December 2019, food sales growth was up 12.4 per cent to £1.9 billion. Sales excluding hospitality and franchise were up 16.4 per cent.

Larger basket sizes seen in the first half of the year continued throughout the Christmas period, which M&S said made it the fastest growing major store-based food retailer during the 13-weeks.

Clothing and home sales rose by 3.2 per cent, with strong online sales growth of 50.8 per cent. M&S said that substantial expansion of in-store fulfilment had played a role in the success of its online business. However, store sales of clothing and home were down 10.8 per cent on 2019.

International sales jumped by 5.1 per cent during the period, with online sales more than doubling. Performance was driven by clothing and home growth in the Republic of Ireland and key markets like India after Covid restrictions were eased. M&S also generated strong growth through online marketplaces and in franchise shipments to the Middle East.

The company repaid its December 2021 bond maturity through cash and signed a new £850 million Revolving Credit Facility maturing in June 2025. It also disposed of two warehouses for a total cash consideration of £42.5 million.

“Trading over the Christmas period has been strong, demonstrating the continued improvements we’ve made to product and value. Clothing & Home has delivered growth for the second successive quarter, supported by robust online and full price sales growth,” said Steve Rowe, chief executive, Marks & Spencer. “Food has maintained its momentum, outperforming the market over both 12 and 24 months.

“The market continues to be impacted by the headwinds and tailwinds that we reported in the first half, but I remain encouraged that our transformation plan is now driving improved performance.”

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