British retailer M&S posts rising first-quarter sales

13th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

British retailer Marks & Spencer said on Wednesday that sales climbed in the first quarter of its financial year, as the group was lifted by the royal wedding and the Easter holiday.

Group sales increased 3.2 percent in the 13 weeks to July 2, compared with the equivalent period of last year, M&S said in a statement.

Sales at its stores in Britain rallied by 1.7 percent in the group's first quarter, up from 0.1 percent in the previous three months.

M&S was boosted by Easter festivities, and as Britons celebrated Prince William's wedding to Kate Middleton on April 29.

"Customers came to us for the perfect solution to their celebrations over Easter and the royal wedding holiday," M&S said in the trading update.

Chief Executive Marc Bolland added that the business was performing well despite the uncertain economic climate.

"Marks & Spencer continued to grow market share in both clothing and food by offering our customers more choice, great value for money and leading innovation," he said.

"Against the uncertain economic backdrop, we are focused on trading through the short term, while building for the long term growth of the business."

However, the group remains cautious as British households struggle with rising prices and stretched incomes.

"We expect trading conditions to remain challenging due to pressure on consumers' disposable incomes and higher commodity prices. As a result we remain cautious about the outlook," added M&S.

"Our focus will be on remaining competitive, and offering our customers great value and quality at a time when they are managing their budgets carefully."

© 2011 AFP

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