Hello and welcome to our continued coverage of the global economy, financial markets, euro area and business.
Mark & Spencer hailed a strong Christmas as the UK retailer’s turnaround strategy begins to bear fruit ….. as a supermarket chain Tesco improves its profit outlook.
M&S UK sales jumped 8.9% in the last quarter, from pre-pandemic levels two years ago, according to a just-released business update.
In the last 13 weeks of 2021, food sales were up 12.4% from the last quarter of 2019, with M&S Retail parks and Simply Food stores “continuing to outperform”.
The size of the baskets increased as customers used M&S for more of their daily shopping – perhaps spending more on premium food to celebrate Christmas after a difficult year.
Clothing and home sales, which have long been a problem for M&S, are up 3.2% from two years ago.
M&S says it is now “more confident” of reaching its recent improved profit forecast of £ 500million – unless further restrictions or material blockages are imposed.
M&S Managing Director Steve Rowe said:
“Trading over the Christmas season has been strong, demonstrating the continuous improvements we have made in product and value. Apparel and Home Growth for the second consecutive quarter, supported by solid growth in online and full-price sales. Food maintained its momentum, outperforming the market over 12 and 24 months.
The market continues to be impacted by the headwinds and tailwinds we reported in the first half of the year, but I remain encouraged that our transformation plan is now leading to improved performance. “
In what retail analysts are calling Super Thursday, Tesco raised its earnings outlook, reporting strong sales at department stores and convenience stores, with online sales significantly above pre-COVID levels.
The UK’s largest supermarket reported an increase in Christmas sales and said its market share was now the highest in four years.
Tesco’s comparable sales in the UK grew 0.3% year-on-year over the Christmas period and 8.8% higher than two years ago, showing how grocers’ sales have benefited of the pandemic.
Tesco says it now expects retail operating profits to be slightly higher than its previous forecast, after stronger than expected sales this year.
Tesco CEO Ken Murphy said:
“We are delighted to have been able to help our customers have a great Christmas.
Despite increasing cost pressures and supply chain challenges in the industry, we continued to invest to protect uptime, doubled our commitment to delivering great value, and brought our festive line to the top. strongest ever.
This has put us in a strong position to meet customer needs as, once again, COVID-19 has led to a greater focus on celebrating at home. As a result, we outperformed the market, increasing our market share and strengthening our value position.
Asos and map Factory also report results (we will come back to this shortly …)
Yesterday, supermarket group J Sainsbury, sportswear / fashion company JD Sports and housewares chain Dunelm also raised their profit forecasts.
Today we also get the latest US unemployment figures, which may show an impact of omicron on the US job market.
The UK Office for National Statistics publishes its weekly health check on the UK economy, covering indoor meals, shortages in shops, credit card spending and gasoline prices (among other metrics )
European stock markets are expected to get off to a smooth start after US inflation hit its highest level since 1982 yesterday.
- 9:30 am GMT: Weekly UK business news and economic activity data
- 13:30 GMT: Weekly unemployment figures in the USA
- 3 p.m. GMT: hearing of Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard in the Senate on his appointment as vice-chairman of the Fed