LONDON – Sales at Marks & Spencer Group plc rose 4.4 percent in the first quarter ended July 3, however, the retailer is cautious about the remainder of the 2010-11 fiscal year.
M&S said its U.K. sales rose 4.8 percent on the back of a strong performance in clothing, up 7.4 percent, and general merchandise, up 7 percent.
“Our customers responded well to improved styling, stronger fashions and great value, with sales of summer knitwear and holiday ranges particularly good,” the company said in a trading statement, adding that M&S increased its market share in all areas of clothing during the period.
Despite the strong performance in the 13-week period, Marc Bolland, who took over as chief executive in May, warned about the impact of the British government’s recent austerity measures on future performance.
“We have made a good start to the financial year, but following the recent budget and the actions proposed to reduce the national deficit, including the increase in VAT, we are cautious about the outlook for consumer confidence and spending, and continue to manage the business accordingly,” he stated.
M&S, which reports percentages only for each quarter, will give its next trading update on October 7.