11 January 2024
Robyn Duffy Senior Analyst at RSM UK on today’s Christmas trading results from Marks and Spencer: ‘Amidst reports of sluggish sales for UK retailers during the festive period, Marks and Spencer bucked the trend announcing stellar Christmas trading numbers. Sales overall were up 7.2%, with food sales up 10.5% and clothing and home up 4.8%.
‘It seems everything Marks and Spencer touches turns to gold, an impressive feat considering the current economic backdrop, but this strong performance is no fluke. The business is staying close to their customers and acting on their needs in the face of cost-of-living pressures.
‘M&S’s strong results in the food arm of the business support the notion that Christmas 2023 was all about time spent at home with friends and family for consumers. 2022’s acquisition of Gist – a deal geared to improve the food supply chain network of the business - has enabled M&S to be more competitive on pricing, a timely strategy considering food inflation is still over 9%. It could also be why M&S has seen a flurry of new customers and an increase in basket size with more customers doing their full shop in M&S food stores.
‘Clothing and home also performed strongly. Womenswear continues to be a success and is fast becoming a favourite for Millennial women. In addition to gearing the food business to be able to offer greater value to customers, M&S also put this ethos at the forefront of their Christmas ranges. One third of gifts were priced at £10 and under, and 70% at £20 or less. Christmas decorations were down 6% year on year and entry prices for Christmas trees were down 25%. Ultimately, M&S did everything they could to appeal to UK consumers amid cost-of-living pressures and it paid off.'