Marks & Spencer has upgraded its profit outlook, after the British retailer saw both food and clothing sales rise in what it said was a 'strong start to the year'.
The group said that while there was an element of pent-up consumer demand, its offering was proving popular after several previous transformation programmes failed.
'Assuming no further COVID-related restrictions on trading, at this early stage we expect adjusted profit before tax for the year to be above the upper end of previous guidance of £300 million to £350 million', it said in an tatement.
M&S has focused on transforming its culture, improving the quality and value of its clothing and food products, while reshaping its store estate and investing in technology and e-commerce, including a venture with online supermarket Ocado.
In the 19 weeks to 14 August, its clothing and home division revenue jumped 92.2% on last year and was down just 2.6% on the pre-pandemic 2019.
Boosting Revenues In Food
Food revenue jumped 10.8% on last year and 9.6% on the year before, with cost reduction programmes helping to offset inflation and disruption in the supply chain.
'Despite the variable location performance, overall trading has been ahead of the market," M&S said of the performance of its Food division. 'To date, cost reduction programmes are helping to mitigate cost inflation and disruption in the supply chain, and the cost of increased colleague absence in the period.'
Elsewhere, revenue in the group's International business is up 39.7% on last year and down 5.2% on the pre-pandemic period, despite the 'impact of lockdown in India in the early part of the financial year and substantial Brexit related effects on the supply of Food to our businesses in the Republic of Ireland and France', it added.
In May, Marks & Spencer announced that full-year profit fell by 88% last year, impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The group reports its half-year results on 10 November.