M&S sustained trading momentum through the peak quarter, with both Food and Clothing & Home (up +8.8% in Q3, and up +8.6% on a LFL basis) delivering strong growth, says the retailer's chief executive, Stuart Machin.
"Clothing and Home delivered another outstanding performance, maintaining its market leadership position with its highest market share in seven years," says Stuart. "Thanks to our unrivalled quality, innovation and growing style credentials, more customers shopped with M&S over the Christmas period than in recent years.
"We saw the benefits of the acceleration in the steps we’re taking to reshape M&S as an omnichannel retailer supported by an increasingly promising store rotation programme. Our new full line and renewal stores outperformed expectations, while click-and-collect orders increased +20%, and the competitive advantage of M&S’ omnichannel platform was demonstrated by delivering circa +50% growth in third-party brand sales. This was supported by substantial growth in monthly active app users to circa 5 million.
"Given the inflationary pressures impacting our customers and our business, M&S is taking action to structurally reduce costs and reinforce our customer proposition. Our singular focus is on delivering the M&S Reshaped programme to drive growth and value creation as the UK’s leading omnichannel retailer. This performance across both our businesses provides confidence in delivering our full-year results.”
Clothing & Home achieved over 10% market share in the period, its highest level since 2015.
Store sales increased +12.8%, with standout early performances from new stores such as Colchester and Chesterfield, which are part of M&S' store rotation programme.
Online sales increased +0.7%, driven by growth of +33% through the M&S app, with a strong performance of click-and-collect sales.
Commenting on the trading update, Julie Palmer, partner at corporate recovery specialist Begbies Traynor, says: “There are now clear signs that the steps taken to reshape the business are starting to bear fruit - the business is taking market share and clothing is getting back on track – but despite such strong trading, guidance remains unchanged for the full year, which shows how difficult it really is out there.
“The pressures on British retailers aren’t going anywhere so the high-street veteran is taking action to structurally reduce costs, but one has to question if price increases are around the corner."