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July 7, 2010    

Q1 sales growth slows at M&S

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by Kay Murchie

British retailing giant, Marks and Spencer (M&S), has today announced UK same-store sales grew in its first quarter (13 weeks to 3 July), while food sales rose 1.5% and general merchandise was 6% higher.

While the figures represented the third quarter of sales growth in a row, it was slower than the 5.1% increase in the previous quarter.

The 126-year-old retailer which sells clothes, food and homewares, said it remained cautious about the outlook for consumers in the coming year – particularly after last month’s emergency budget, which is expected to hit consumer spending.

Commenting on the figures, M&S chief executive Marc Bolland said: “Following the recent Budget and the actions proposed to reduce the national deficit, including the increase in VAT, we are cautious about the outlook.”

However, Mr Bolland who joined M&S in May from supermarket giant Morrisons, said he does not expect a double-dip recession, which some are predicting.

Meanwhile, Bolland could face backlash at next week’s annual meeting as many shareholders are expected to react angrily to his £15 million pay package.

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