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Mixed messages at M&S

Strong Christmas trading update struggles to address long-term issues
Mixed messages at M&S

Marks & Spencer (MKS) is celebrating a strong festive period, in which its food division posted its highest ever Christmas sales. Profit before tax is now expected to reach at least £500m, in line with previous guidance. However, concerns linger about the retailer’s long-term strategy. 

According to a trading update, food sales are up 10 per cent on Christmas 2020, and 12.4 per cent higher than Christmas 2019. Management noted larger basket sizes, suggesting customers are turning to M&S for more of their everyday shopping, and said its products are performing strongly on Ocado.com. (M&S represented just under a third of baskets in December). 

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