Ambitious expansion on the cards for M&S

Chief executive earmarking group revenues of between £11.5bn and £12.5bn by 2013/14.
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Marks and Spencer has reported strong sales growth in its half year results, with its chief executive also outlining a number of plans to help boost its group revenues even further by 2013/14.

Sales were up 5.4 per cent at £4,569 million, up 5.6 per cent in the UK and 3.8 per cent internationally for the period.

UK like for like sales grew by 4.4 per cent, general merchandise was up 6.3 per cent and food rose 2.6 per cent.

"Marks & Spencer has had a strong first half. In clothing, we grew market share in all areas as we gave our customers better fashions, more choice and great value," said M&S chief executive, Marc Bolland.

Bolland also revealed some ambitious expansion targets. By 2013/14 he wants to deliver group revenues of between £11.5bn and £12.5bn, with the UK business delivering £1bn to £1.5bn of new revenues. He is also aiming for M&S to become a leading UK multi-channel retailer with revenues of £800m to £1bn.

Bolland also wants to overhaul M&S' fashion brands, making greater use of the M&S own brand and reducing the duplication in some of its fashion sub-brands, giving each label its own brand marketing manager.

In grocery, plans are to cut the number of branded items sold in stores from 400 to 100 - however, a further 100 'international' brands will also be introduced.

India and Shanghai have been highlighted as key international expansion areas, while M&S will also increase the pace of its UK store openings.

Store layout will also be improved, with M&S aiming to increase cross selling of products between its food, homewares and clothing ranges. The group will stop selling consumer electronics as part of its homeware offering.

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