M&S beats analysts’ expectations

Marks and Spencer’s childrenswear market share is its highest by volume and value in seven years, according to the high street retailer.

However, M&S has revealed its UK like for like sales were down 4.2% in the three months to 28th March.

Its 4th quarter figures, reported this morning (March 31) beat analysts expectations with group sales overall up 1.9%. UK general merchandise sales were down 4.8%, while food sales slipped by 3.7% compared to the same period last year.

Shares in the high street retailer jumped by nearly 9% this morning as the fall in sales was better than feared. City analysts had expected a decline in UK sales of between 6.5% and 7.5% – and was an improvement on the 7.1% drop in sales seen in the previous quarter.

The retailer had announced job cuts and Simply Food store closures in January when it revealed its worst Christmas trading in a year.

Chief executive and chairman Stuart Rose, whose position has been bolstered by this morning’s results, says its food performance had improved as customers “welcomed our increased innovation, better ranging and sharper values highlighted by our Wise Buys, Dine In and Family Favourite offers.”

In addition to strong growth in childrenswear, the retailer says its womenswear has been boosted by the introduction of new brand Portfolio last month.

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