M&S customers buying from tablets and mobiles...not so much in stores

A strong performance in Marks & Spencer’s online business has not countered a decline in overall sales, the retailer has revealed.

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A strong performance in Marks & Spencer’s online business has not countered a decline in overall sales, the retailer has revealed.

Retailers have revealed a mixed bag of results following the Christmas period, with many, such as Sainsbury’s and Tesco, seeing increased sales in their online businesses, but not all, like Tesco and M&S, seeing growth overall.

Marc Bolland, M&S chief executive, said: “M&S.com had a great quarter with sales up 23 percent, strongly ahead of the market. Our strategy to transform M&S into an international, multi-channel retailer, will keep on improving our .com service with the launch of our new platform and our new warehouse at full capacity.”

While total online sales grew by nearly a quarter, M&S said that general merchandise online sales were up 32 percent over the eight-week Christmas training period. It described the growth as “well ahead of the market”.

“This was driven by an increase in both traffic to the site as well as conversion, which was ahead of last year,” the retailer said.

Mobile was also a more popular channel, with orders from tablets “up over 100 percent” and mobile phones up over 80 percent.

M&S added that its new web platform “is on track” to launch this Spring, and it believes that it, with its new e-commerce distribution centre, will make a “meaningful difference” to its service.

M&S.com sales increased 23 percent in the third quarter (13 weeks) to 28 December 2013, and by 24 percent in the eight weeks to 24 December 2013, Marks & Spencer said in its interim management statement. Although total UK sales grew 1.5 percent, like-for-like sales fell 0.2 percent in the quarter.