M&S Nudges up Outlook After Strong Christmas

British retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) on Thursday nudged up its profit outlook after it reported a strong Christmas performance, particularly in food, where it outperformed the market.

M&S, Britain’s most famous stores group which is recovering from a decade of decline, said it now expected full-year profit before tax and adjusted items to be at least £500 million ($686 million) compared to previous guidance of about £500 million.

It said food sales increased 12.4 percent against its pre-pandemic performance two years ago in the 13 weeks to Jan. 1, beating market forecasts of 10 percent growth.

Clothing and home sales rose 3.2 percent on the same basis, also surprising on the upside. The market had expected a 0.9 percent fall.

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Chief executive Steve Rowe said: “Trading over the Christmas period has been strong, demonstrating the continued improvements we’ve made to product and value.”

He said food had outperformed the market over both 12 and 24 months, while clothing & home had delivered growth for the second successive quarter, supported by more full-price sales.

The update provides evidence that one of Britain’s most elusive turnarounds could finally materialise. M&S’s shares have nearly doubled over the past year.

By Paul Sandle; Editors: Kate Holton and James Davey

Learn more:

M&S’ Annual Profit Slumps 88% As Covid Crushes Clothing Sales

British retailer Marks & Spencer reported an 88 percent slump in full-year profit, reflecting a collapse in clothing sales due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and warned investors not to expect a dividend in the current year.

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