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Marks & Spencer shares jump on clothing sales increase

44Marks & Spencer shares rose to their highest level in seven years after the retailer posted a long-awaited rise in clothing sales.
The retailer said sales for the three months to 28 March rose by 1.9%. Closely-watched general merchandising sales, which include women’s clothing, rose 0.7% on a like-for-like basis over the quarter, its best performance in nearly four years. Sales in food also rose by 0.7% for stores open at least a year.
However, overall international sales declined 3.8% as conflict in Ukraine continues and Russia’s economy struggles, the retailer said.
M&S was the biggest gainer in the benchmark FTSE 100 index, rising 6.1% compared with a 0.2% rise in the wider market.
“We had a record Valentine’s Day and launched over 350 new products over the quarter,” said the company in a statement.
Clothing sales were aided by “great fashion press coverage, including that of our iconic suede skirt”, said the firm.