Marks & Spencer posts first rise in clothing sales in two years

Marks & Spencer has revealed a rise in Christmas clothing sales for the first time in two years.

The Clothing & Home department, which includes lingerie, witnessed a 3.1% increase in sales in the 13 weeks to 31 December.

Like-for-like sales were up 2.3%, although 1.5% of that was down to how Christmas fell, which meant there were five additional days of trading.

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But still, a combination of introducing new discounts, increasing and modernising the product choice, and launching a new brand marketing strategy has steered the retailer away from troubled waters.

“We substantially reduced sales on promotion in the period, with many fewer category promotions particularly over Black Friday,” said chief executive Steve Rowe.

“Stock into sale during the quarter declined by 7% with one fewer clearance event than last year.  As a result of these actions, we saw a further improvement in full price sales.”

M&S clothing sales have been in decline for the past five years, with the exception of one positive quarter two years ago.

Last week, This is Money reported that Marks & Spencer has hired a headhunter to find a new fashion boss for its clothing division.

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