Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 11°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Retail: M&S hails ‘clear signs of improvement’ as clothing sales edge higher

08:46 10 April 2014

Marks & Spencer today reported better than expected sales figures.

Marks & Spencer today reported better than expected sales figures.

Archant

Marks & Spencer delivered better-than-expected sales figures today amid signs of a revival for its struggling womenswear business.

shares

The retailer said clothing sales rose 0.6% on an underlying basis in the 13 weeks to March 29, driven by “clear signs of improvement” in womenswear following last autumn’s relaunch of its M&S Collection.

Marks said in a trading update: “Customers are responding well to our refocus on quality and style.”

However, across the general merchandise business, which includes homewares as well as clothing, like-for-like sales were 0.6% lower in the quarter.

It means the company has suffered three years of declines in the division, although today’s figure was better than the 1% fall expected in the City.

The company, which has hired new senior personnel and launched a celebrity marketing push in a bid to revive its fashion business, said the improved performance came in the face of high levels of discounting.

It added: “Despite some improvement in consumer confidence, we remain cautious about the outlook. Our focus is on continuing to transform Marks & Spencer into an international, multi-channel retailer.”

Marks said its food department had a “great quarter”, with the later timing of Easter failing to prevent an 18th quarter in a row of like-for-like growth.

However, with the resilient sales performance having been offset by continued pressure on margins, the City expects annual results from M&S, due to be published on May 20, to show a 6% fall in profits to £623m.

It will mean the 130-year-old company being overtaken for the first time by rival Next, a relative upstart at 32 years old, which last month announced profits of £695m.

Freddie George, a retail analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald, kept his “sell” rating on the stock today and warned the profits figure could go as low as £610m.

He added: “We continue to believe it will take a number of seasons before the existing team is able to manifest a marked improvement in performance in womenswear.”

shares

1 comment

  • I think that 'clear signs' are more likely than 'clear sings'. Please proof read before publishing.

    Report this comment

    Pop-pop

    Thursday, April 10, 2014

Greene King apprentice Tamara-Leigh Kirkham.

Greene King has been named VQ Large Employer of the Year for 2015, in recognition of its support for members of its workforce undertaking vocational qualifications (VQs).

Sizewell A and B

Staff at the redundant Sizewell A nuclear power station will have to wait to find out if their jobs are safe from planned redundancies.

The opening of Precision Marketing's new headquarters in Bury St Edmunds.

An expanding marketing services firm celebrated the official opening of its new head office in Bury St Edmunds yesterday.

Abby Curtis who is opening Pump and Grind coffee shop in Great Colman Street with Tom Kerridge

The business team behind a new cafe have said they are disappointed they will not able to serve alcohol when opening for the first time on Saturday.

Arlingtons new art exhibition, Liz and Ken Ambler at the launch

Music, art, wine and a great deal more

Steven and Debbie Morgan pictured when they took over The Royal Oak earlier this year

Firefighters were called to a pub last night following a water leak which caused flooding.

Rachel Pearlman, Zoe Bradbury, Jack Northcott and Jordan Keeble of Ginger Nut Media team  at the OXO Tower in London, after being awarded as the best level of support during Advanced Apprenticeships.

A digital advertising firm is celebrating after scooping an award for its supportive training regime.

Royal Mail profits up 6% to £740m

Thursday, May 21, 2015
Royal Mail has seen a rise in annual profits.

Royal Mail today reported a rise in underlying annual profits as a squeeze on costs helped offset a lower than expected performance from its parcel business.

Bury Council Building Angel Hill.

The new chairman of Bury Town Council has said he intends to make the authority relevant after claiming it has done “almost nothing” for the last few years.

Tesco  Group Chief Executive Dave Lewis

Tesco paid £4.1 million to new boss Dave Lewis in his first six months after he was brought in from consumer goods group Unilever to turn around the embattled supermarket.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages