M&S stocks up on sales news

<p>Shares in Marks & Spencer have risen this morning.</p>

The share price of Marks & Spencer (M&S) has risen this morning (April 10th) after the company released its latest sales data in a trading update.

Figures for the 13 weeks to March 29th showed a 1.9 per cent rise in group sales, while total sales were 1.5 per cent higher over the first quarter of the year.

However, it was also revealed by M&S that its like-for-like sales slipped by 0.2 per cent over the January to March period, though a 2.5 per cent increase in food sales was a positive sign.

Chief executive at M&S Marc Bolland stated that clothing sales were up by 1.3 per cent overall, with this figure becoming 0.6 per cent when sales are calculated on a like-for-like basis.

He said: "Our food business had another great quarter, especially considering the later timing of Easter. This marks our 18th consecutive quarter of growth. We continued to outperform the market with record sales around key events including Valentine's Day and Mother's Day."

Priority markets

Internationally, M&S said in a statement that its priority markets delivered a strong performance for the first quarter of the year, with the company hailing good levels of strong growth in India, as well as in flagship stores in China and in the Gulf. It added: "We are pleased with the performance in Western Europe, with good improvement in Greece and Czech Republic."

M&S is now expecting the full year gross margin in its food business to be slightly ahead of previous guidance and investors responded positively to this news, with the share price of the firm rising quickly in the early stages of trading this morning.

By 08:28 BST, stocks in the famous British company were up by more than two per cent on the start of the day, but by 09:42 BST the gain was down to 1.45 per cent.

M&S concluded: "Despite some improvement in consumer confidence, we remain cautious about the outlook. Our focus is on continuing to transform Marks & Spencer into an international, multi-channel retailer."

Find up to date information on the FTSE 100 and spread betting strategies at City Index

Join our live webinars for the latest analysis and trading ideas. Register now

GAIN Capital UK Limited (trading as “City Index”) is an execution-only service provider. This material, whether or not it states any opinions, is for general information purposes only and it does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. This material has been prepared using the thoughts and opinions of the author and these may change. However, City Index does not plan to provide further updates to any material once published and it is not under any obligation to keep this material up to date. This material is short term in nature and may only relate to facts and circumstances existing at a specific time or day. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) financial, investment, legal, tax or other advice and no reliance should be placed on it.

No opinion given in this material constitutes a recommendation by City Index or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. The material has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research. Although City Index is not specifically prevented from dealing before providing this material, City Index does not seek to take advantage of the material prior to its dissemination. This material is not intended for distribution to, or use by, any person in any country or jurisdiction where such distribution or use would be contrary to local law or regulation.

For further details see our full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.