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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Director, Head of Retail Research (UK & EMEA)
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Director, Head of UK Retail & Leisure
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