Marks & Spencer is having an excellent Christmas after customers exhausted its festive food ranges, according to closely guarded industry data
Marks & Spencer had a terrific Christmas after customers fully enjoyed its festive food ranges, according to closely guarded industry data.
The high street giant’s grocery sales rose 10.5 percent in the four weeks ended December 25 compared to 2021, according to the figures.
The increase clearly sets it apart from its main competitors. It also means the chain will be celebrating its second consecutive Christmas performance in its grocery department. Sales last year grew by a similar amount.
Tasty result: Shoppers flocked to M&S luxury grocery products
M&S will also disclose on Thursday how its clothing store is doing.
The figures, produced by market research firm Kantar, were shared among top food industry executives. They show a clear division between companies that hold their ground and those that fall behind.
Sales at Tesco and Sainsbury’s rose 8.5 percent and 8.4 percent respectively over the four weeks. Those at Waitrose rose 1.5 percent while Morrisons fell.
Customers who are in a bind are already switching to the discounters Aldi and Lidl, which have already been named the two Christmas winners in the food sector with a sales increase of one fifth. M&S has reached out to Tesco and Sainsbury’s customers to entice them to spend more at its food halls and convenience stores.
The retailer is expanding its delivery service with Ocado to include ranges, including more value-for-money products. But M&S, known for its luxury ranges, has also been hard at work making further improvements to its signature products, which include its Cherry & Orange Liqueur Christmas Pudding Wreath and its Blood Orange & Cranberry Vodka.
Stuart Machin, the former food department chief, was promoted to chief executive two years ago in recognition of his success in improving his performance. An industry leader said: “M&S has the momentum that some of its competitors, especially Waitrose, would die for. The signs are that Marks & Spencer is picking up speed – while Waitrose appears to be falling further behind.’
But grocery stores are coming under increasing financial pressure from rising labor, energy and raw material costs. Annual food price inflation jumped to 13.3 percent in December and prices are expected to rise further early this year.
Retailers had a sluggish November but there are mounting signs that shoppers got out of hand in December despite pressure on the cost of living and a wave of strikes that threatened to choke demand.
M&S shares got a boost last week – rising 11.5 per cent – after a positive statement from fashion competitor Next. Shore Capital analyst Clive Black said the performance of Next, Pasty Shop Greggs and value retailer B&M “encouraged” the city for the upcoming series of testimonies from others.
He said an analysis by Next boss Lord Wolfson suggests a “more stable and improved” time could be coming for the High Street.
Tesco will announce its Christmas sales figures on Thursday. Sainsbury’s releases its figures on Wednesday.