M&S food has ‘standout’ Christmas amid clothing gloom

Marks & Spencer’s food division had a “standout” performance over Christmas, helping lift what was otherwise a disappointing trading period for the business.

UK food revenue grew 1.5% to £1.7 million in the three months to the end of December, the company said.

M&S chief executive Steve Rowe (M&S/PA)
M&S chief executive Steve Rowe (M&S/PA)

However, M&S clothes stores fared much worse, with sales in the clothing and home division dropping 2.7% to £1.1 million in the third quarter.

On a like-for-like basis, which strips out the effect of new stores and closures, UK revenue grew 0.2%.

Chief executive Steve Rowe said: “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.”

He added that “disappointing one-off issues” such as waste in the food business and the performance of its gifts range “held us back from delivering a stronger result”.