Marks & Spencer (M&S) has seen its food sales grow by 4.2 per cent over the past year, according to its latest financial report.
In the company's quarter one 2014/15 trading statement it revealed an additional 1.7 per cent increase in like-for-like sales. The retailer's food sales have contributed to an overall group sales rise of 2.3 per cent with UK total sales also increase by two per cent. However, it was bad news for the company's online operations as M&S.com declined by 8.1 per cent over the timeframe.
M&S' food business has enjoyed a highly productive quarter and the company noted that a strategy to be more specialist has allowed it to be set apart from its competition. During the quarter the company has launched over 700 new products providing customers with plenty of choice. It is also in the process of readying 150 new Simply Food stores to be opened over the next three years.
Marc Bolland, chief executive of M&S, said: "Our food business had another great quarter, continuing to outperform the market, through our focus on differentiation through quality and innovation.”
These strong food sales have given M&S a foundation to build upon especially at a time when other supermarkets are struggling to compete. The rise of discount stores such as Aldi and Lidl has put increased pressure on the traditional supermarkets and has seen the likes of Asda and Morrisons announce major restructuring plans.
Sainsburys also recently announced a new partnership with Scandinavian supermarket chain Netto to bring it back to the UK. Ten stores have already been earmarked for opening with the north of England being targeted by the joint venture. The aim is to compete with the likes of Aldi and Lidl which have become increasingly popular with consumers across the UK.