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British retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has reported that its total UK sales increased by 18.6% to £2.99bn ($4.08bn) during the third quarter (Q3) of 2021-22.

For the 13 weeks to 1 January, the retailer’s group sales grew by 18.5% to £3.27bn compared with the same period of last year and 8.6% against the 13 weeks to 28 December 2019.

Its international sales, which were driven by growth in its Clothing and Home segment in the Republic of Ireland and other markets, grew by 17.4% to £272m.

Clothing and Home sales rose by 37.7% against Q3 2020-21 and 3.2% compared with the same period of 2019-20.

M&S’ food sales, excluding those in hospitality, increased by 10.0%.

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By GlobalData

Driven by the expansion of its in-store fulfilment services, sales in the company’s digital channel grew by 50.8%, but store sales dropped by 10.8% compared to the corresponding period of 2019-20.

M&S chief executive Steve Rowe said: “Trading over the Christmas period has been strong, demonstrating the continued improvements we’ve made to product and value.

“Clothing and Home has delivered growth for the second successive quarter, supported by robust online and full-price sales growth.

“Food has maintained its momentum, outperforming the market over both 12 and 24 months.

“The market continues to be impacted by the headwinds and tailwinds that we reported in the first half, but I remain encouraged that our transformation plan is now driving improved performance.”

During the three-month period, M&S signed an £850m revolving credit facility due to mature in June 2025.

The retailer also sold two of its warehouses for £42.5m in cash.

In response to its Q3 performance, M&S has said it expects its full-year profit before tax and adjusting items to be at least £500m.

Last September, the company began a review of the future of its retail store operations in France due to supply-chain disruptions and stock shortages.