Retailer Marks and Spencer announced that its sales rose for the first time in two years, reporting a 2.6% increase in total group sales for the quarter ending December 26, 2009, while UK sales improved 2.3% and like-for-like sales added 0.8%, with online sales soaring 32%, which the retailer called a successful performance during the important Christmas period.
General merchandise sales improved 1.2%, mostly due to a 4% increase in clothing sales, while food sales added 1.3%. The group posted its biggest ever Christmas fortnight, with record one day sales of over £50 million on December 23, 2009.
The guidance on gross margin, operating costs and capex (capital expenditure) for the current financial year was left unchanged, with the retailer expecting a one-off finance charge of £14 million and offering a cautious outlook.
“We expect the trading conditions over the coming year to remain challenging as a result of continuing economic uncertainty,” said Chairman of Marks and Spencer Stuart Rose.