Marks & Spencer UK like-for-likes edged up 0.3% but sales from the retailer’s relaunched website fell 8.1% over its first quarter.
Marks & Spencer’s total group sales edged up 2.3% and UK total sales increased 2%. General merchandise like-for-likes dropped 1.5% while food like-for-likes rose 1.7%.
M&S said it was focusing on optimising the website commercially and had experienced a gradual improvement in sales recently, despite fewer promotions online. It said it expects to return to growth ahead of peak trading.
The retailer’s revamped clothing range helped total fashion sales inch up 0.1% but like-for-likes in the category dipped 0.6% in the 13 weeks to June 28.
M&S said it had “stronger full-price sales” in womenwear as it was less promotional over the period to concentrate on margin. It said the move impacted sales, particularly online, but it was on track to hit its full-year margin guidance.
Chief executive Marc Bolland said: “We have seen a continued improvement in clothing, although as anticipated the settling in of the new Marksandspencer.com site has had an impact on sales.
“We are pleased that the womenswear business was in growth, driven by full price sales, in line with our increased focus on margin. Our food business had another great quarter, continuing to outperform the market, through our focus on differentiation through quality and innovation.”
International sales jumped 4.7%, although it said conditions in Ireland continued to be challenging and its sales performance in the Middle East was impacted by the timing of shipments to its franchise partners.
M&S holds its AGM this morning. It will report its half-year results on November 5.