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Market Commentary

​​Weekly Retail & Leisure News - 07 April, 2015

Marks and Spencer reports positively, as Kingfisher restructures its operations

Marks and Spencer’s underlying sales of clothing and homewares have risen for the first time in almost four years, with LFL sales up by 0.7% in the three months to March 28. The performance was reportedly helped by strong sales across all M&S’s general merchandise departments. LFL food sales also rose by 0.7% as M&S’s upmarket food outlets shrugged off the supermarket price war.

In other news, Kingfisher’s sales in the UK and Ireland rose 5.4% in the year to January 31, a reflection of a stronger UK economy and more buoyant housing construction. However, Kingfisher also announced it is to close about 60 B&Q stores over the next two years, but plans to open 60 new outlets under its Screwfix brand this year.

In a busy week for the online fashion market, Asos has reported that the UK was their strongest performing market for the six months to February 28, with sales up 27% to £231.4m. The online retailer reported a 10% fall in pre-tax profits to £18m, with chief executive, Nick Robertson, claiming that the company was ‘building momentum,’ as total sales rose 14% to £536.4m in the same period. In addition, luxury online retailer Yoox has confirmed an all-share merger with Net-a-Porter, the designer clothing website, which will create the world's largest online retailer focusing on luxury brands, with combined sales of €1.3bn. The merger signifies the latest sign of increasing online competition, particularly at the luxury end of the market.

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