M&S has reported group growth of 3.1% for the 13 weeks to 30 March 2013. Total UK sales grew 2.6% (LFL +0.6%) a marked improvement on last quarter's growth of 0.3% (LFL -1.8%). Food continued to outperform the total business, showing a 6.3% total uplift and a LFL rise of 4.0%.
Headline figures from Q4
- Group sales: +3.1%
- Total UK sales: +2.6% (+0.6% LFL)
- Food sales: +6.3% (+4.0% LFL)
- General merchandise sales: -2.2% (-3.8% LFL)
- Multichannel sales: +22.9%
- International sales: +7.0%
Food a "destination of choice"
M&S reported strong results for food, with LFL growing by 4.0%. Food has now delivered positive LFL sales growth for three consecutive years. This has been driven by continued focus on improving private label ranges in terms of both quality and innovation. M&S believes it is a destination of choice for shoppers, particularly around special occasions, with Easter delivering its strongest week to-date. M&S has also made investment in operational execution, allowing it to deliver further improvements in product availability.
General merchandise underperforms
Sales of general merchandise have continued to fall, with LFL sales falling by 3.8%. M&S had less promotional activity in its general merchandise categories, holding its full price position for much of the quarter. However in March M&S reacted to intensified promotional campaigns in the market place with tactical offers. Although recognising that general merchandise performance is not yet satisfactory, M&S quotes reasons for optimism, with customers responding well to better editing of its Spring/Summer product ranges, particularly the recent 'Perfectly' campaign.
Standout growth from multichannel and international
Multichannel growth accelerated 22.9% as more shoppers utilised its click & collect offer 'Shop Your Way'. Mobile was an important contributor, with sales growing by 70% on last year, aided by improvements to the mobile shopping experience including a recently upgraded mobile app. As it looks to continue its success in multichannel M&S will be launching a new e-commerce distribution centre later this month and a new web platform that it plans to launch in Spring 2014. International also continued to perform well, with sales growth of 7.0%, with India and China its key international markets. Despite ongoing macro-economic issues in the region, M&S improved its performance in Europe over the quarter.
Marc Bolland, chief executive said "In January we said we expect the pressure on consumers' disposable incomes to continue throughout 2013. As a result we were cautious about the outlook for the year ahead and this view remains unchanged. We continue to make good progress in transforming Marks & Spencer from a traditional UK retailer to an international multi-channel retailer".
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