(Sharecast News) – UK food, clothes and homewares retailer Marks & Spencer on Tuesday lifted guidance for half-year profits after strong sales growth in the first 19 weeks of its financial year.
In an unexpected market update, the company said like-for-like food sales grew more than 11% in the period as it “sharpened” prices on over 80 products in its ‘Remarksable Value’ lines designed to attract customers amid the cost-of-living crisis.
Like-for-like Clothing & Home sales grew more than 6%, with strong growth in stores, and more subdued growth in the online channel.
“Sell through rates have been robust and stock into sale was lower than planned,” M&S said in a statement, adding that group operating margin continued to be robust, driven by strong store performance and enhanced by its store rotation and renewal programme.
“There remain considerable uncertainties about the economic outlook, and there is a risk that the consumer market will tighten as the year progresses. Nevertheless, we now expect the outcome for the year to show profit growth on 2022-23, and the interim results to show a significant improvement against previous expectations,” M&S said.
House broker Shore Capital Markets said: “Noting ongoing uncertainty, keeping feet on the ground, and a favourable Q1 comparative, we upgrade FY24 profit before tax by 9% to £550m, we would expect consensus to follow.”
Reporting by Frank Prenesti for Sharecast.com