Marks & Spencer share price rises despite ‘unsatisfactory’ clothing sales
Shares in Marks & Spencer (LON:MKS) have surged more than one percent in London this morning even as the blue-chip retailer posted yet another fall in quarterly sales at its troubled general merchandise division. Today’s update marks the first results under chief executive Steve Rowe who took the helm at the company last week.
As of 08:55 BST, Marks & Spencer’s share price had added 1.47 percent to 426.60p, outperforming the broader London market, with the FTSE 100 currently standing 0.23 percent higher at 6,176.09 points. In the year-to-date, the retailer’s shares have lost 5.86 percent of their value, as compared with a 1.08-percent dip in the blue-chip index.
Marks & Spencer said today in a statement that its sales had climbed 1.9 percent in the 13 weeks to March 25, pressured by a fall in the group’s general merchandise division where like-for-like sales slipped 2.7 percent, reflecting price deflation and a flat market. The result, however, surpassed the more than three-percent fall in the unit expected by analysts. The retailer’s food sales came in flat, but the company noted that the division had continued to outperform a highly competitive market.
“We had a mixed performance in the final quarter of the year,” M&S’ new chief executive Steve Rowe said in the statement. “Although the sales decline in Clothing and Home was lower than last quarter, our performance remains unsatisfactory and there is still more we need to do.”
Rowe, who said earlier this week that he would continue to lead the troubled division in his new role, added that turning around the Clothing and Home business was the group’s ‘number one priority’ and promised to unveil further details of his strategy for the business alongside the group’s full-year results next month.
James McGregor, partner at Retail Remedy retail consultants, told the Guardian that he had a ‘good feeling’ about Rowe, who has spent time in stores.
“While some stores are modern, light and inviting some are still stuck in a time that fashion and modern retailing forgot,” McGregor pointed out. “We can expect Steve Rowe to ‘kitchen sink’ the M&S full-year results in May leaving him with a clean sheet with which to start his tenure as CEO.”
As of 09:22 BST, Thursday, 07 April, Marks and Spencer Group Plc share price is 426.40p.