Marks & Spencer revealed better-than-expected fourth-quarter sales today, relieving some of the gloom that has descended on the high street in recent weeks.
Group sales at M&S rose 2.3% in the 13 weeks to April 2 2011. Food sales put on 4.9% although general merchandise sales were down 3.4%. Underlying sales across the group improved 4.2%.
Chief executive Marc Bolland said: “We had a good fourth quarter in a challenging trading environment. In times like these customers are increasingly turning to M&S for value, quality and innovation.
“Strong products backed by great advertising meant we outperformed the market and grew share in both food and clothing.”
However, the retailer remained cautious for the immediate future, predicting that trading conditions would become “increasingly challenging” in the financial year 2011/12.
The City had been bracing itself for poorer results from M&S as fellow retailers such as Dixons, HMV, Mothercare and Laura Ashley have all revealed that they have been struggling this year.