Marks & Spencer’s food sales see 3.4% rise

Marks & Spencer’s food arm has posted a growth in sales for the past 12 months. 

In the 52 weeks to 28 March 2015, food sales were up 3.4% for the year with a 0.6% rise on a like-for-like basis.

Over the year, it opened 62 Simply Food stores in the UK, with “performance ahead of expectations”. M&S also extended its offering, introducing 1,700 new products, equivalent to almost a quarter of its entire range, including the new Taste range of prepared meals, as well as new categories such as frozen meals.

Marc Bolland, chief executive, said: “We made good progress in three of our four key priorities for the year. In food, we had an outstanding year in a difficult market.”

In its outlook for the coming year, it aims to expand its food offering, with the planned opening of new stores, adding 4.5% of space, while it is increasing the planned number of new stores from 200 to 250 in the three years to March 2017.

It expects the food market to remain “challenging” over the next 12 months. “In our food business, we see strong sales growth and modest gross margin opportunity. We expect the UK food market to remain challenging, but we are well-positioned with a differentiated product offer and a store format that caters for the changes in customer shopping habits. Delivery of our new stores will help drive sales growth over the coming year.”

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