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Marks & Spencer Sales Rise 3.6% in Q1

British retailer's clothing division continues to struggle.

Exterior view of a Marks & Spencer store

LONDON — Marks & Spencer plc said group sales in the 13 weeks to June 29 climbed 3.6 percent in actual currency, and 3.3 percent on a constant currency basis.

Sales in the U.K. were up 2.7 percent, boosted by the British retailer’s food division, which grew 4.5 percent during the period. General merchandise, which includes M&S’s struggling clothing division, was up 0.5 percent, but down 1.6 percent on a like-for-like basis.

“Our general merchandise business showed some improvement this quarter, and the food business delivered another excellent performance, continuing the strong underlying trend,” said Marc Bolland, the company’s chief executive.

Bolland added that general merchandise was operating under “difficult trading conditions, and further intensification of promotional activity in the market.”


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He noted that tight management of the business had resulted in a “clean stock position” at the end of the first quarter.

The new fall/winter collection, which M&S presented to analysts and British press earlier this summer and which has already garnered good reviews, will begin arriving in stores and online from the end of July, with a full launch in September.

International sales were up 11.6 percent in actual currency and 8.7 on a constant currency basis, with markets such as India, China and the Middle East among the top performers. Bolland said macro-economic issues in some parts of Europe were still impacting sales in the region.