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New store openings help M&S post 3.2% rise in first-quarter like-for-like food hall sales

Published:  07 July, 2015

Marks & Spencer has reported a 3.2% increase in food hall sales in the 13 weeks to June 27. Like-for-like food sales were up 0.3% over the same period, with new store openings driving growth.

Chief executive Mark Bolland said the group was on track to open around 90 Simply Food stores this year.

M& sales were 38.7% ahead of the same period a year ago.

"We continue to make good progress against our key priorities," he said. "Our food business did very well in a difficult market.

"M& performance was very strong with customers appreciating all the improvements to our website."

General merchandise sales were ahead by 0.2% and held back overall group sales to +1.8%.

Ken Odeluga, senior market analyst at City Index said M&S's growth in food sales was "little short of remarkable in the current sectoral conditions".

He added: "Online came in on target. However, I suspect some investors may have hoped that a more aggressive approach might have beaten guidance.

"Overall, M&S has managed to keep hold of the ball as it enters the second quarter. It will almost certainly begin to experience more demanding investor expectations on growth from now on."