“Strong momentum sustained” by M&S during Christmas trading
In Food, M&S achieved "a c.7% increase across the quarter, and served more customers than ever before"
19 January 2024
Marks and Spencer Group has announced its Christmas trading update, which shows total group sales rose by 7.2% in the 13 weeks to 30 December with UK like-for-like sales rising by 8.1%.
While clothing and home sales grew 4.8%, food grew by an impressive 9.9%.
Given the good momentum sustained over Christmas, M&S now expects full year results to be in line with market expectations.
“Our strategy to reshape M&S for growth has enabled sustained sales momentum across food and clothing & home over the Christmas period,” said Stuart Machin, M&S chief executive.
“In food, we led the market on volume growth every month with a c.7% increase across the quarter, and served more customers than ever before. Core categories grew strongly and renewal stores, which cater to larger basket shops, performed particularly well, as more customers looked to us for more of their full shop.”
Charlie Huggins, manager of the Quality Shares Portfolio at Wealth Club, has analysed the results, noting: “M&S has sustained good momentum over the Christmas period, especially in food which delivered 7% volume growth, making M&S the top performing grocer over the Christmas period.
“M&S also continued to gain share in clothing & home, supported by a good womenswear performance. This suggests the turnaround plan to revitalise the brand and reignite growth is very much on track.
“The clothing & home division has been a problem child for M&S for many years. The new strategy, launched last year, aims to improve brand perception and designs, reduce discounting and improve the online offering, while taking a knife to costs and instilling a more entrepreneurial culture. Early signs are this plan is resonating with consumers.
“While the UK consumer backdrop remains uncertain, there are more positive signs than this time last year, with interest rate cuts likely to relieve some pressure. Combine this with M&S’ self-help initiatives and execution that continues to impress, it suggests recent trading momentum could be sustained.”