M&S sees strong Christmas trading
The UK’s biggest retailers are currently reporting their Christmas trading figures, and it has been a mixed bag so far.
Today, British retailing giant Marks and Spencer (M&S) said sales in the final quarter of 2010 were up despite the heavy snowfall which gripped much of the country last month.
The 127-year-old retailer which sells clothes, food and homewares said like-for-like sales in the UK, which exclude the impact of sales from new stores, were up 2.8% compared with a year ago.
The figures exceeded analysts expectations and represented the fifth straight quarterly rise.
Chief executive, Marc Bolland who joined the company last May from supermarket giant Morrisons, said the company “traded well through the important Christmas period.”
Meanwhile, total sales rose 4%, with internet sales through M&S Direct 25% higher in the 13 week period to 1 January.
However, it warned of a challenging outlook as consumers start to feel the pinch from the Government’s spending cuts and the recent VAT hike.
In related news today, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said retail sales fell 0.3% on a like-for-like basis in December – which was not as bad as feared.
In other news, Wm Morrison Supermarkets yesterday reported a rise in Christmas and New Year sales, despite the bad weather.
The grocer, which is Britain’s fourth largest, said like-for-like sales grew 1% in the six-week period over Christmas and New Year compared with the same period a year ago.
Next, which is Britain’s second largest fashion retailer, said sales for the five months to Christmas Eve – at shops open at least a year – were down 6.1%.
Mother and baby products retailer Mothercare, greeting card chain Clinton Cards, and McBride, Europe’s largest maker of retailer own-brand cleaning products, all said sales suffered last month.