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Marks & Spencer reports positive e-commerce figures

20 April 2012 - 12:00 by Sarah Collinson

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The first three months of 2012 were particularly successful for retailer M&S, which saw a 22.8 per cent rise in sales made shopping online.

M&S Direct is the company's e-commerce platform and it has actually grown ahead of estimates put on the market as a whole, which shows that the firm's careful establishment of its online presence in recent years, is starting to pay dividends.

Earlier in the year, M&S announced its first online outlet-style shop from which customers can purchase cut price clothing, direct from their computers.

M&S spokesperson, Marc Bolland, said that the current performance of the retailer suggests that it will easily meet its profit targets in 2012.

Mr Bolland said that M&S wanted to become a retailer that was as well known for its safe shopping online as for its presence in the high street. This means taking a multichannel approach and also expanding into overseas markets, to bolster international trade.

Like many other major retailers, M&S actually saw sales decline by just under one per cent, like for like, in the first quarter of the year. However, it was able to offset this slowdown in consumer spending by increasing its online sales by such a significant margin.

M&S' international ambitions are set to pay off in the near future, since next year it will be cutting its ties to Amazon when selling overseas. This does put a lot more pressure on the company to deliver a consistent service to both domestic and foreign customers, but, so far, it has shown that it can handle the transition to e-commerce adeptly.

A greater degree of customisation is expected to be implemented on its m-commerce platform, to help capture the growing number of people who are doing most of their shopping from their smartphones.