Marks and Spencer's huge turnaround

HIGH street store Marks and Spencer is today celebrating a huge turnaround in its fortunes.The company's chief executive Stuart Rose hailed a recovery after sales surged in the build-up to Christmas.

HIGH street store Marks and Spencer is today celebrating a huge turnaround in its fortunes.

The company's chief executive Stuart Rose hailed a recovery after sales surged in the build-up to Christmas.

Mr Rose, who owns a Suffolk farmhouse, said: “We have now delivered growth on growth in all areas of our business, thus completing the first part of our recovery plan.”

The positive picture has been reflected at the company's store in Westgate Street, Ipswich.

John Kyprianou, store manager, said: “The store was modernised this year and that finished in August.

“Our sales have been fantastic and are ten per cent up on last year in clothing and in food, so it's across the board.”

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Nationally, the company reported sales in general merchandise, including clothes, were up 7.1pc in the three-month period, while food sales were up 3.6pc.

It was also a good quarter for internet sales which were up 70pc, with the website attracting nine million customers.

Much of the credit for the dramatic turnaround has focused on the advertising campaign featuring 1960s style icon Twiggy and models Erin O'Connor, Laura Bailey and Noemie Lenoir.

Last year it was revealed that Twiggy's involvement in the campaign had come about after a chance meeting between her and Steven Sharp, M&S's executive director of marketing, store design and development, in The Swan pub at Southwold.

The turnaround at M&S has seen its share price soar from just 343p two years ago to an all-time high of 736.5p earlier this month.

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