M&S feels benefit of food

Marks & Spencer’s food division is providing strength for the brand at the moment, with sales rising by 1.7% and multichannel retailing maintaining positivity, Kantar Worldpanel has said.

Despite the retailer putting longer-term multichannel building blocks in place, insight director at Kantar Retail Bryan Roberts has said Kantar retains concerns about the company’s other operations. “The feted autumn/winter clothing range will not be the silver bullet that some hope it might be,” he said.

He told MeatInfo.co.uk: "The grocery side of the business is a real footfall driver but, by the same token, you get people who would be attracted to the stores by the other offerings," and one offering can affect the other.

Meanwhile, city analysts at Shore Capital Clive Black and Darren Shirley highlighted how well the retailer had performed on the food side of the sector. They explained that M&S’ food business had performed well, “outperforming a tough British market with LFL sales growth of 1.7%”.

All in all, group sales for the full year 2012/13 were up by 1.3% to £10bn and total UK sales rose by 9%, with food sales increasing by 1.7%.

Profit before tax sat at £665.2m and net debt was at £2.6bn. Chief executive Marc Bolland said: “In a challenging market, M&S sales grew by 1.3%. Three of the four parts of the business made strong progress. We are very pleased with food performance, which benefited from our continued focus on delivering innovation, and unrivalled quality and provenance. Our international operations performed well in key markets and our multi-channel business delivered strong growth.”

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