Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Marks & Spencer Delivers Best-Ever Easter Week

By Sam Robson - Apr 11, 2013 at 9:11AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Marks and Spencer reveals its strongest quarterly sales growth for 24 months.

LONDON -- Shares in Marks & Spencer (MKS 2.47%) have risen 4% to 399 pence as of 8:50 a.m. EDT following the release of the high-street retailer's trading statement for the fourth quarter, which saw the strongest quarterly sales growth in the last two years.

Group sales increased 3.1% year on year, with total U.K. sales averaging out at a 2.6% rise. Another strong performance from its food operations, which saw a 6.3% lift (helped by its biggest-ever Easter week), more than offset the 2.2% drop-off in general merchandise. It was a similar story for like-for-like sales in the U.K., which saw a marginal increase of 0.6% as food soared 4% and general merchandise fell 3.8%.

Chief executive Marc Bolland commented:

We are working hard on improving our performance in General Merchandise and, despite difficult trading conditions, we made progress in our operational execution. We delivered an excellent result in Food, with performance well ahead of the market, as customers continued to trust us for provenance and quality. We are increasingly seen as the destination shop for special occasions.

An increased push in multichannel sales saw a 22.9% rise in the operations year on year, helped by increased participation in M&S' click-and-collect offer "Shop Your Way," while mobile sales soared more than 70% compared with the same period last year thanks to an improved mobile-shopping experience implemented.

Elsewhere, international sales grew by 7% following a good performance by its franchise business in the Middle East, while key markets in India and China continued to trade strongly. Management also highlighted the performance of its European stores, stating, "Despite the macro-economic issues in some of the legacy markets, our performance in Europe improved in the quarter." 

So Marks & Spencer appears to be making ground in its directive to become an international multichannel retailer despite the continued decline of its clothing operations. However, Bolland and the rest of the management team are addressing this with "selected tactical offers," and they revealed in this morning's update that customers are responding well to "better editing" of its spring and summer range. If they can return the general merchandise department to former glory, coupled with its excellent food division, then Marks & Spencer, on a prospective yield of 4.5%, might just return to prominence -- both on the high street and in investors' eyes.

If you are looking for alternative opportunities in the FTSE 100, this exclusive wealth report reviews five particularly attractive possibilities. Indeed, all five blue chips offer a mix of robust prospects, illustrious histories, and dependable dividends, and they have just been declared by The Motley Fool as "5 Shares You Can Retire On." Simply click here for the report -- it's completely free!

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Marks and Spencer Group plc Stock Quote
Marks and Spencer Group plc
MKS
$136.90 (2.47%) $3.30

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
331%
 
S&P 500 Returns
115%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 05/20/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.