Marks & Spencer sells 289,000 beauty calendars over Christmas

In 2016, the retailer gave consumers spending £35 or more the opportunity to buy a calendar for an additional £35

Retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has revealed that it sold 289,000 beauty advent calendars in Q3 2016/17.

In the 13 weeks to 31 December 2016 – spanning the pre-Christmas sales period – M&S's calendar, which contained products worth a combined value of more than £250, was a hit with consumers looking for a luxury twist on the tradition.

Brands inside the calendar included Rituals, Rodial, Nails Inc, Filorga, Nuxe, Emma Hardie and skyn, among others.

In 2015, M&S also launched an advent calendar with a similar deal but at a lower price point. Consumers spending £25 on M&S Beauty products were eligible to buy a calendar for a further £25.

Pushing full price

Overall in Q3, the retailer saw its Clothing & Home business, which includes beauty, grow 3.1% in total or 2.3% like-for-like including online sales.

This figure exceeded expectations (about 0.5%) and represents the first time the category has posted a growth in two years.

Chief executive Steve Rowe said: “In Clothing & Home, better ranges, better availability and better prices helped to improve our performance in a difficult marketplace.”

Rowe explained that one of the main reasons behind the growth was that M&S “substantially reduced” sales on promotion in the period, holding off from heavy participation over the Black Friday weekend and focusing instead on pushing full price sales.

M&S’ food offering continues to be a highlight for the company with food sales growing 5.6% in total, or 0.6% like-for-like over the period.

Forward planning

Rowe continued: “As we look forward, our Q4 reported numbers will be adversely affected by sale timing and a later Easter. 

“Against the background of uncertain consumer confidence the business remains focused on delivering the strategic actions announced last year.”

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