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Gloucestershire Business News

Marks & Spencer clothing sales bounce back

Marks & Spencer - which has outlets in Gloucester, Cheltenham and Cirencester - is reporting a bounce back in its clothing and home sales.

Revenue in this sector is up 92.2% on last year and down just -2.6% on 2019/20. The company credits a change in its approach to trading, including more focussed ranges, fewer promotions, and a substantially smaller summer sale.

Clothing and home online sales are also up by 61.8% on 2019/20 and comprised around 35% of total sales in this division, with guest brands and the Sparks programme performing well.

Earlier this week the company announced it was looking at another six 'guest brands' in store.

These include Cornish based ethically-sourced fashion brand Celtic and Co, Jones the Bootmaker and Fat Face.

Also on the list is Albaray, the womenswear brand owned by Next, children's clothing brand Frugi and outdoorwear brand Craghoppers.

The company has previously featured Hobbs, Phase Eight, Smiggle, Clarks and Nobody's Child in its roster of guest brands.

Based on trading in the 19 weeks to 14th August 2021, M&S has updated the market on the improvement in its sales performance and profit delivery.

At the start of the year, continued restrictions across large parts of the M&S store portfolio meant that the trading outlook was highly uncertain. Since then, M&S has seen an encouraging performance.

Food revenue in the period has increased 10.8% on last year and 9.6% on 2019/20. Retail park locations have traded strongly.

International revenue is up 39.7% on last year and down only -5.2% on 2019/20 despite the impact of lockdown in India in the early part of the financial year and substantial Brexit-related effects on the supply of food to its businesses in the Republic of Ireland and France.

The push into global online saw sales up around 40% on last year and more than doubling on 2019/20.

The company says that assuming no further Covid-related restrictions affect trading, it expects adjusted profit before tax for the year to be above the upper end of its previous guidance of £300-350m.

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