'Better buying' increases M&S sales

26 April 2006
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27 April 2006 | Paul Snell

An improved purchasing strategy has contributed to a boost in Marks & Spencer's sales figures, according to the retailer.

Sales of clothing, shoes and general merchandise were up nearly 10 per cent during the 13 weeks up to 1 April.

An M&S spokeswoman told SM out-of-stock problems were quickly resolved due to improvements in the retailer's procurement strategy, which meant buyers were able to identify which lines were popular, and to supply them quickly.

"The increased speed of the product to the market has increased our ability to react to trends. We can now get new trends into stores within seven to eight weeks, rather than a couple of months," she said.

The swift reaction by suppliers has been a response to the way M&S purchasers now spend their buying budget, she added. Instead of spending the entire budget at the start of the season, a percentage was held back, allowing buyers to see which lines were particularly popular and then capitalise on their success.

Supply improvements for general merchandise, of which 90 per cent is sourced overseas, has also been aided by the introduction last year of offices in Hong Kong, India and Turkey.

"Purchasers can now liaise with suppliers and sort out problems when they occur on the ground," the spokeswoman added.


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