Marks and Spencer has announced its strongest Christmas in years with food sales jumping by 12.4% (compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019), making it the fastest growing store-based food retailer for the festive period.
The group’s strong growth in Q3 and over Christmas (the 13-week period to 1 January) – boosted by food sales, which “outperformed” the market – saw M&S generating its highest ever Christmas figures.
Food sales were also up on a 12-month basis, rising by 10% to a value of £1.9bn.
M&S is the latest retailer to adjust its profit expectations following the results, with full-year profits now expected to be at least £500 million, compared to previous guidance of about £500 million.
Group sales were up 8.6% on pre-pandemic levels and 18.5% on 2021 levels at £3.27 billion.
“Trading over the Christmas period has been strong, demonstrating the continued improvements we’ve made to product and value,” said chief executive Steve Rowe.
“Food has maintained its momentum, outperforming the market over both 12 and 24 months.
“The market continues to be impacted by the headwinds and tailwinds that we reported in the first half, but I remain encouraged that our transformation plan is now driving improved performance.”
Although not included in the figures, M&S Food sales were also bolstered by its online delivery partnership with Ocado.com, which represented around 30% of baskets in December.