Back in fashion: M&S delivers first rise in clothing sales in four years

Marks & Spencer has reported a rise in clothing sales for the first time in more than four years.

Marks & Spencer: 2014's Leading Ladies campaign
Marks & Spencer: 2014's Leading Ladies campaign

The high street chain recorded a 0.7% increase in clothing and homeware sales in the 13 weeks to March 28.

The rise was good news for Marks & Spencer, which had suffered 14 consecutive quarters of falling sales in its fashion department. In the same period last year, the retailer saw a 5.8% drop in sales.

Marks & Spencer attributed the better performance to improvements in the style and quality of its fashion offer and good press coverage. It also said it was driven by online, with revenues up 13.8%.

Total food sales increased 3.7% during the period, while like-for-like sales rose 0.7%.

Marc Bolland the chief executive, said: "We have made strong progress over the quarter. In food we delivered another excellent performance, with sales growth ahead of the market.

"We continued to deliver on general merchandise gross margin, and are pleased that we have achieved this whilst also improving general merchandise sales.

"M&S.com has returned to growth, as planned, with further improvement in customer metrics."