Good news for the Marks & Spencer's CEO Marc Bolland: the British department store chain has finally managed to sell more clothes once more, for the first time in almost 4 years.
Bested analyst expectations
For 14 quarters in a row, Great Britain's biggest clothes seller had to deal with lower fashion sales. The increased competition, mainly from cheaper brands like Primark and Next, seemed to be too much to handle, but in the 13 weeks leading up to 28 March M&S' like-for-like 'non food' sales grew 0.7 %.
A strong online sales growth, up 13.8 % on a yearly basis, was the main contributor to these excellent results. Its own label, Autograph, also sold very well in its physical stores and equally contributed to the improved numbers. This is a victory over many analysts, who had predicted a 1.1 % turnover drop, which in itself would still have been an improvement over the previous quarter with a 5.8 % sales slump.
'Food' doing better than the 'big four'
Food turnover went up 0.7 % as well, which is better than what the four largest supermarket chains in Great Britain - all engaged in a fierce price war - have managed. "We have made strong progress over the quarter", the Dutch CEO said.
He did point out the "macro-economic issues" in Russia, Ukraine and Turkey, which have impacted non-UK sales negatively, down 3.8 %. M&S hopes to wipe away the slump with a range of new store openings, like a first (new) store in Belgium over the summer.