Marks & Spencer’s food sales up 5.2%

Marks & Spencer’s total UK food sales increased by 5.2% and 3.7% on a like-for-like basis in the 13 weeks to 2 October 2010.

The retailer said it had attracted more customers in the quarter, drawn by improved value and investment in innovation.

It launched 370 new products in the period, including additions to its ready meal, grocery and biscuit ranges. Marks & Spencer said it was the only retailer showing an improvement in customers’ perception of value in the period as it continued its programme of promotions such as ‘Dine In’ and ‘3 for £10’ on meat.

Group sales rose by 6.5%, with general merchandise, including clothing and home, up 8% and 7% on a like-for-like basis.

Marks & Spencer’s clothing market share rose to 10.3% with growth in all areas. The retailer said it delivered stronger ranges and styles to suit all budgets.

In the period, Marks & Spencer introduced products such as a ‘2 sizes bigger’ bra and ‘Miracle’ crease resistant linen. Customers are returning to quality in areas such as men’s suits and knitwear as economic uncertainty is putting a strain on household budgets, it said.

The latest advertising campaign has also helped deliver a record autumn season on women’s footwear.

Marc Bolland, chief executive, said: “Marks & Spencer has had a good second quarter, growing market share across all parts of the business. Customers are returning to quality. In food they are responding well to our better value and innovation, and in clothing are increasingly choosing M&S’s great fashions and quality that lasts.”

M&S Direct had a strong quarter with sales up 49%. ‘Shop Your Way’, a multi-channel ordering service, has now been rolled out to 434 stores.

International sales were up 6.2%, as a result of improved performance across most markets but trading conditions remain difficult in Ireland and Greece, said the company.

Looking ahead, Marks & Spencer said trading conditions are likely to become more challenging but it was well positioned to meet the changing needs of its customers through the important Christmas period and beyond.