Marks & Spencer has reported that its food business “outperformed” over Christmas and it saw “outstanding” results in clothing and home.

Stuart Machin

Stuart Machin said the Christmas results were ‘driven by M&S doing what it does best’

M&S said the seasonal results showed its omnichannel strategy was paying off and reaffirmed its full-year profit guidance.

Marks & Spencer food sales rose 10.2% in total and 6.3% like-for-like in the three months to December 31. 

Clothing and home sales climbed 8.8% and 8.6% on the same basis.

M&S said its ’Remarksable Value’ price investment “resulted in very strong growth in volumes with these lines now in over 20% of baskets”. Sales in upgraded stores “performed well”.

The retailer reported that it achieved a market share of “over 10%” in the period – its highest since 2015. Store sales increased 12.8% including “standout early performances from new stores… which are part of the store rotation programme”.

Online sales increased 0.7%, driven by growth of 33% through the M&S app, and strong demand for click and collect. Menswear, formalwear and partywear all did well, while sales of third-party brands rose 50% to account for 8% of online sales in the period. Stock put into the January Sale was “in line with plan and clearance rates to date have been strong”.

M&S sustained trading momentum through the peak quarter and both food and clothing and home have delivered strong growth.

Chief executive Stuart Machin said: “M&S Food outperformed the market on volume and value in the critical four-week Christmas period for the second year running and reached its highest ever recorded market share. Clothing and home delivered another outstanding performance, maintaining its market leadership position with its highest market share in seven years.

“This outperformance was driven by M&S doing what it does best: exceptional product at value you can trust. Thanks to our unrivalled quality, innovation and growing style credentials, more customers shopped with M&S over the Christmas period than in recent years. I would like to thank all our colleagues for the fantastic service they delivered.

“We saw the benefits of the acceleration in the steps we’re taking to reshape M&S as an omnichannel retailer supported by an increasingly promising store rotation programme. Our new full-line and renewal stores outperformed expectations, while click-and-collect orders increased 20%, and the competitive advantage of M&S’ omnichannel platform was demonstrated by delivering 50% growth in third-party brand sales. This was supported by substantial growth in monthly active app users to about 5 million.

“Given the inflationary pressures impacting our customers and our business, M&S is taking action to structurally reduce costs and reinforce our customer proposition.  Our singular focus is on delivering the M&S Reshaped programme to drive growth and value creation as the UK’s leading omnichannel retailer. This performance across both our businesses provides confidence in delivering our full-year results.