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Retail

Britain's M&S Makes Strong Start To New Year: NielsenIQ

Marks & Spencer has maintained its position as Britain's fastest growing food retailer, market researcher NielsenIQ said on Tuesday, indicating its turnaround plan is gaining momentum.

It said M&S's sales rose 12.3% year-on-year in the 12 weeks to 29 January, giving it a UK grocery market share of 3.6%, up 0.4 percentage points on the year.

Last month, M&S nudged up its profit outlook after it reported a strong Christmas, and hopes are rising its latest attempt at a turnaround could succeed after decades of false dawns.

Big Four Grocers

NielsenIQ's data showed market leader Tesco was the best performer of Britain's so-called Big Four grocers.

Its 0.3% sales decline significantly outperformed Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons, which had falls of 3.7%, 4.3% and 6.9% respectively.

The data echoed figures from rival market researcher Kantar published last week. However, Kantar does not include M&S in its monthly reports.

Weaker Comparative Sales

M&S also had weaker comparative sales numbers than the big four in the same period of 2020-21.

NielsenIQ said overall UK supermarket sales fell 2.9% over the four weeks to Jan. 29.

Comparatives were very tough, as in the same period last year the United Kingdom was in COVID-19 lockdown and sales grew 10.6%.

In November of last year, the British retailer performed ahead of forecasts for first-half profit and raised its full-year outlook, adding to evidence that its latest attempt at an elusive turnaround is delivering.

The company reported said it made profit before tax and adjusting items of £269.4 million (€315.6 million) in the six months to 2 October, compared to analyst forecasts of between £205 million and £264 million.

News by Reuters, edited by ESM. For more Retail news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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