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Marks and Spencer cautious on consumer spending

High Street retailer Marks and Spencer (M&S) has reported a sharp rise in sales but warned of tougher trading conditions in the months ahead.

Like-for-like sales in the UK, which strip out the impact of sales from new stores, rose by 5.3% in the three months to the beginning of October.

The company also said its market share had increased across the business.

However, it warned that government spending cuts could undermine consumer spending.
VAT rise

"Marks and Spencer has had a good second quarter, growing market share across all parts of the business. Customers are returning to quality," said chief executive Marc Bolland.

Total sales across the group rose by 6.5%, with international sales up 6.2%.

But the retailer warned that "trading conditions ahead are likely to become more challenging".

It said: "Consumers' disposable incomes will come under greater pressure from increased VAT rates and public spending cuts."

Higher commodity prices would also hit trading, the company said.

Marc Bolland took over from Sir Stuart Rose as chief executive - a job seen as one of the most prestigious in UK retailing - in the summer.

BBC News

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