The company revealed the news in its latest trading statement, for the 13 weeks to 30 March, highlighting a 2.6% growth in total UK sales, with group sales up 3.1% and overall like-for-like (LFL) UK sales up 0.6%.
M&S said it had achieved more than three years of positive consecutive like-for-like sales growth within its food division, as food LFLs increased by 4% in Q4.
Marc Bolland, chief executive, M&S, said: “We delivered an excellent result in food, with performance well ahead of the market, as customers continued to trust us for provenance and quality. We are increasingly seen as the destination shop for special occasions. Multi-channel sales growth accelerated and our international business also performed well during the quarter.”
The Telegraph reported this morning (11 April) that M&S had sold more than 600,000 boxes of its mini Belgian chocolate hot cross buns this Easter.
The firm added that it was pleased to be unaffected by the recent issues affecting the food industry, in light of the horsemeat scandal, and that it was “extremely proud” of its long-term relationships with farmers and suppliers, based on trust, provenance and market-leading quality at all times.
M&S’ multi-channel growth also experienced growth during the fourth quarter, as a result of the increased participation in its click-and-collect offering called ‘Shop Your Way’, alongside an rise in web traffic. The company reported a more than 70% increase in mobile sales on last year, at a time when M&S has recently upgraded its mobile app.
Discussing its outlook for the year, M&S said: “In January we said we expect the pressure on consumers’ disposable incomes to continue throughout 2013. As a result we were cautious about the outlook for the year ahead and this view remains unchanged. We continue to make good progress in transforming Marks & Spencer from a traditional UK retailer to an international multi-channel retailer."
On reporting M&S’ Q4 trading results, British Baker's sister title M&C Report revealed the firm had opened its first standalone café at its London Paddington headquarters, accommodating 70 covers and serving made-to-order hot breakfast rolls, muffins, cakes and in-house baked pastries.