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Marks and Spencer reports rise in total sales

British retailer Marks and Spencer on Tuesday announced a rise in revenues during its first quarter on growth in food sales and a turnaround for its key womenswear division.

LONDON: British retailer Marks and Spencer on Tuesday announced a rise in revenues during its first quarter on growth in food sales and a turnaround for its key womenswear division.

Total sales grew 2.3 per cent during the 13 weeks to the end of June despite being impacted by the introduction of a new website, the company said in a trading update.

"We have seen a continued improvement in clothing, although as anticipated the settling in of the new M&S.com site has had an impact on sales," said the retailer's chief executive Marc Bolland.

"We are pleased that the womenswear business was in growth, driven by full price sales," he added in a statement.

The share price of M&S, which trades in Britain and abroad, was up 1.18 per cent to 438.3 pence in early deals on London's FTSE 100 index, which was 0.23 per cent lower at 6,807.50 points.

Problems remain however across the group. Aside from online sales sliding 8.1 per cent because of teething problems linked to the new M&S website, the company reported a 0.6 per cent drop in overall clothing sales.

On the upside, food sales grew 1.7 per cent in the quarter.

"Despite some improvement in consumer confidence, market conditions remain challenging," M&S said, adding however that it was maintaining its full-year guidance regarding group performance.

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