08 November 2023
Robyn Duffy, Senior Analyst at RSM UK comments on today H1 results from Marks and Spencer: ‘Today’s robust half year trading results shows that Brits have fallen back in love with M&S. With like for like sales for food up 14.7% and driving sales overall, investment into reviving the business has paid off. Last year’s acquisition of Gist – a deal geared to improve the food supply chain network - has enabled M&S to be more competitive on price without compromising on quality - appealing to today’s price sensitive consumer.
‘Clothing and home also performed strongly despite headwinds in the market and unseasonal weather in September which caused weak sales across the industry. M&S benefit from having a greater footprint in their clothing business, in terms of school uniforms and under-garments, giving them an edge at this time of year. Its laser-focus on full price sales during the period, coupled with refinements to ranges has also boosted margins. A crucial win for any retailer coming out the other side of a cost-crisis where margins have been squeezed.
‘The business is seeing more ‘normal’ trading patterns with stores now outperforming online. It still has a way to go in terms of improving its digital footprint. But with the ‘click and collect’ model outperforming last year, and its partnership with Ocado in the early stages returning back to profitability, M&S is on track with further investment in data, digital and tech to enhance its online offering.
‘Overall, M&S continues to be the darling of the high street and this looks set to continue into 2024 with anticipated robust year-end results, despite choppy economic waters ahead. Key investments have allowed M&S to meet their customers needs and a clearer ‘less is more’ strategy is paying off.’