Marks & Spencer Says Online ‘Profitable’ as Older Women Use Web

Nov. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Marks & Spencer Group Plc, the U.K’s largest clothing retailer, said its Internet business is profitable as older, female shoppers move online.

The 128-year-old retailer, which reported 560 million pounds ($903 million) in multichannel sales last year, told investors that it made a profit in the fiscal year ended March 2012 at an investor presentation, which it posted on its website today.

Marks & Spencer is investing in its web offering to increase sales from the Internet and grab a bigger share of the market. The retailer is the third-biggest online clothing and footwear chain in the U.K. and controls about 6 percent of the market. The company has about 11.7 percent of the total clothing market in Britain, it said in May.

Marks & Spencer will come off its Amazon.com. Inc platform in early 2014 and is building its own dedicated e-commerce distribution center in Castle Doddington, England to fulfill online orders. The retailer is spending 250 million pounds to increase multichannel sales to as much as 1 billion pounds by fiscal 2014.

The retailer said its online customer is a typically an affluent female aged between 55 and 65 years old who owns lots of technology like tablets and smartphones and already banks and shops online.

Editors:

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Shannon in London at sshannon4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net