M&S reports a modest sales rise over Christmas period

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RETAIL giant Marks and Spencer reported a modest rise in UK sales over the Christmas period, with strong food sales offsetting under performance elsewhere in the firm.

It has also warned that its margins would be lower this year due to a heavy promotions programme.

M&S, which has branches in Commercial Road and Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, Fareham, Hedge End and Chichester, said it had performed well in a ‘challenging environment’.

Like-for-like sales for the final 13 weeks of 2011 were up 0.5 per cent on a year earlier. Food sales were up three per cent, while general merchandise sales fell by 1.8 per cent. The decline in general merchandise was not helped by a 13.3 per cent slump in sales in its home division, which the company blamed on its decision to stop selling technology products.