Food business drives Q3 sales for M&S

Marks & Spencer has released its Q3 financials, which covers the 13 weeks to 28 December 2019, and reflects the ongoing progress of the group's transformation strategy.

The results are as follows:
• UK like-for-like revenue slightly up, driven by improved quarter in both main businesses
• Food business maintains momentum of H1 with positive like-for-like revenue and further improvement in volumes, with standout performance in the 2-week Christmas period as customers responded to sharper value and more relevant innovation
• Clothing & Home improved run rate from H1 reflecting strong initial customer reception of Autumn ranges with signs of continuing recovery in core Womenswear, offset by underperformance in Menswear and Gifting
• Decisive actions to drive trade in-season including improved availability, a reduction in options and improving value helped reduce the value of stock into sale by 12%
• Full year guidance unchanged, although gross margins expected to be around lower end of guidance, largely offset by cost reduction programme

Steve Rowe, Chief Executive, said, “We delivered an improved performance in Q3 across both main businesses. The Food business continued to outperform the market and Clothing and Home had a strong start to the quarter, albeit this was followed by a challenging trading environment in the lead up to Christmas.

'As we drive a faster pace of change, disappointing one-off issues - notably waste and supply chain in the Food business, the shape of buy in Menswear and performance in our Gifting categories - held us back from delivering a stronger result.

'However, the changes we made earlier in the year in Clothing have arrested the worst of the issues of the first six months and we are progressively building a much stronger team for the future.”