London: Clothing and food retailer Marks & Spencer Group PLC said on Wednesday that first quarter sales rose by 2.9%, though comparable sales in its home market in Britain declined by 1.4%.
The drop in UK sales was nevertheless smaller than the 2.5% drop forecast by analysts.
Sales outside Britain in the 13 weeks to 27 June, the company’s fiscal first quarter, rose by 15.9%, and online portal M&S Direct posted 28% growth, the company said in a trading update. It did not report profit figures.
“Consumer confidence appears to be stabilizing,” said Stuart Rose, the company chairman.
“However, we remain cautious about the outlook for the remainder of this and next year and will continue to run the business accordingly.”
Marks & Spencer shares were up 2.8% at 314.5 pence on the London Stock Exchange.
In May, Marks & Spencer reported that its full-year profit fell 38% to £508 million ($835 million) while revenue rose just 0.4%, and the company cut its dividend by a third.