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Unpacking Marks & Spencer's stellar Christmas results

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Marks & Spencer store Credits: Marks & Spencer

Despite reports of sluggish festive season sales for UK retailers, Marks and Spencer has defied the trend by announcing impressive Christmas trading figures. The overall sales recorded a notable increase of 7.2 percent, driven by 4.8 percent growth in clothing and home segments and a 10.5 percent rise in food sales.

In response to the outstanding performance, Robyn Duffy Senior Analyst at RSM UK on today’s Christmas trading results from Marks and Spencer told FashionUnited: 'It seems everything Marks and Spencer touches turns to gold, an impressive feat considering the current economic backdrop, but this strong performance is no fluke. The business is staying close to their customers and acting on their needs in the face of cost-of-living pressures.'

The success of M&S's food business during Christmas aligns with the trend of consumers spending more time at home with friends and family. The 2022 acquisition of Gist, aimed at enhancing the food supply chain, contributed to M&S's improved competitiveness on pricing, crucial in the context of food inflation exceeding 9 percent. This strategic move attracted new customers and led to larger shopping baskets in M&S food stores.

The clothing and home segments also delivered robust performances, with womenswear particularly resonating with Millennial women. M&S's commitment to offering better value to customers was evident in their Christmas ranges, with one-third of gifts priced at 10 poundsand under, and 70 percent at 20 pounds or less. In response to cost-of-living pressures, M&S strategically adjusted prices, reducing Christmas decorations by 6 percent year on year and cutting entry prices for Christmas trees by 25 percent. Overall, M&S's efforts to appeal to UK consumers amid economic challenges proved successful.