Multichannel sales climb 27% to £413m, bringing £500m target in sight

Marks & Spencer is to roll out its Shop Your Way multichannel offer to Simply Food stores, enabling customers to pick up skirts with their sarnies.

The venture ramps up M&S’s multichannel operations, the success of which were a highlight of Tuesday’s full-year results.

After a trial in 11 Simply Food shops before Christmas, the retailer last week pressed the button on expansion and has since made Shop Your Way available in a further 86 c-stores.

By the end of the summer, 144 Simply Food shops will participate in Shop Your Way. The service is already available at M&S’s core chain. Shop Your Way enables customers to order goods either instore, on the phone or online for collection in-store.

M&S reported that multichannel sales climbed 27% to £413m last year and chairman Sir Stuart Rose said the retailer’s target of £500m for this financial year is “in sight”.

Rose, who is handing over the executive leadership reins at M&S to Marc Bolland, reported a 4.6% rise in full-year profits to £632.5m on sales up 3.2% to £9.3bn.

The retailer managed its first yearly like-for-like sales rise in food since 2007 - up 0.3%.

General merchandise like-forlikes rose 1.6% and clothing market share improved by 30 basis points to 11%.

Rose said: “Marks & Spencer has had a good year. We have improved performance in all core areas. We took action to guide M&S through the recession without losing sight of what matters to our customers - quality and value.”

Although he said trading in the New Year had got off to a “satisfactory” start, he warned that conditions were likely to remain turbulent and maintained: “We have got the muscle to remain as competitive as we have been over the past five years.”

Presenting his last set of full year results, Rose said that, during his time in charge, M&S increased sales by £1.9bn, invested £3.4bn in the business, returned £4.6bn to shareholders and launched Plan A.

Asked if he had any regrets, Rose said that he regretted he would not be around to see the conclusion of the store refurbishment programme and 20/20 business improvement initiative - and not having stood down earlier, the recession having put paid to that idea.

Sir Stuart Rose demob-happy

Marks & Spencer chairman Sir Stuart Rose was, as usual, dapper and debonair on Tuesday as he presented the company’s prelims.

The difference was that he seemed almost demob-happy as he passed the leadership baton to Marc Bolland. Rose peppered his update with typical wisecracks but, while admitting some mistakes, his message was that M&S is a much stronger business today than it was when he was parachuted in back in 2004 to defend the retailer from a takeover by Sir Philip Green.

He said: “I look in the mirror and ask, have I done as good a job as I could have? Yes. I think the business is in a better state than when I inherited it.”
M&S will ultimately be judged on its commercial success, but retail will become a shade less colourful when Rose finally severs his link with the high street bellwether by next March.