Promotions boost M&S and Debenhams

Debenhams and M&S have reported modest sales increases over the festive period, as discounting helped entice shoppers.

/c/u/l/marksspencer160.jpg

Clothing sales increased 1.1% over the 13 weeks to 31 December while food sales increased 4.5%. Homeware sales fell 13.3% during the period, but M&S attributes this to exiting the technology market earlier in the year and expects the roll out of its expanded home range to boost performance.

M&S’s online business reported a 22.4% rise in sales.

The retailer’s moderate rise in sales was boosted by food sales as customers prepared for Christmas celebrations, but M&S is preparing to cut costs in the first half of the year to offset the effect of promotional activity on margins.

Debenhams, meanwhile, reported a 6.5% like-for-like sales increase in December as heavy promotional activity attracted customers. In the 18 weeks to 7 January Debenhams reported a 1.5% increase in like-for-like sales and a 0.5% rise in total sales. Online sales were 34.8% up for the period.

At the same time, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has reported that like-for-like sales values across the sector were 2.2% higher in December than in 2010, when sales were heavily impacted by snow. Total sales in the month were up 4.1% against a 1.5% increase in the previous year, the best performance since January 2011.

Food sales picked up as expected, but were often promotion-lead.

Non-food non-store sales, which include online, phone and catalogue sales were up 18.5% on the pervious year.

Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC says Christmas trading was “better than hoped for” but doesn’t signal an ongoing uptick.

He adds: “A solid December result hasn’t rescued a pretty miserable year. Whole-year figures show minimal growth in 2011. For many customers, economic reality has bitten again since the New Year and, with consumer confidence returning to levels last seen during the recession, 2012 is expected to be an equally challenging year.”

Latest from Marketing Week

PLEASE SIGN IN OR REGISTER. IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here