January 9, 2020 / 7:18 AM / a month ago

Britain's M&S says turnaround making progress as Christmas sales edge higher

LONDON, Jan 9 (Reuters) - British retailer Marks & Spencer reported a slight rise in underlying sales in its Christmas quarter, indicating its latest attempt at a turnaround is showing some tentative progress.

M&S, one of the best known names on the UK high street, said on Thursday its overall like-for-like sales rose 0.2% in the 13 weeks to Dec. 28, its fiscal third quarter.

It said food sales rose 1.4%, ahead of analysts’ average forecast of a 1.1% increase. Clothing and home sales fell 1.7%, below consensus expectations of a 0.8% decline but much better than the previous quarter’s 5.7% fall.

M&S said its full year guidance was unchanged, although gross margins were expected to be around the lower end of guidance, largely offset by cost reductions.

Reporting by James Davey, editing by Sarah Young

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