Pretax profit at Marks & Spencer declined by 8 percent, from £348.6 million to £320.5 million, in the 26 weeks ended 1st October. Sales of general merchandise remained broadly flat in the six months, dipping 0.8 percent. Food sales, however, were up 3.9 percent during the period, leading to a 1.6 percent overall UK sales increase during the half-year. Meanwhile, M&S Direct sales were up 11.7 percent with over 3 million website visits per week. In addition, international sales were up 9 percent with strong like-for-like growth in M&S’s “priority markets” of India and China.
Online florist SerenataFlowers.com has expanded with the launch of two new divisions. SerenataHampers.com and SerenataPlants.com were launched last month following a strong growth in sales. Serenata is currently on track to hit 50 percent growth in 2011 and to facilitate this rapid rise in consumer demand, the company is building a new fulfilment centre to triple its current capacity. Based at Heathrow, the new premises will enable gift delivery from one central hub. The site will be operational in December.
Fashion etailer Missguided has launched an ad campaign spanning TV and press advertising. Based around the concept “drop dead gorgeous” the company is taking ads in magazines including More and during The Only Way Is Essex on ITV2. This follows the news that other direct sellers are testing TV advertising, including Ironmongery Direct and Lovehoney.
High street jeweller Ernest Jones has launched a new online personalised jewellery service allowing consumers to choose from a variety of design and engraving options.
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