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PostSubject: Posh's little black dress is biggest hit for M&S   Posh's little black dress is biggest hit for M&S EmptyTue Nov 06, 2007 9:11 pm

Posh's little black dress is biggest hit for M&S

6th November 2007

Victoria Beckham has helped Marks and Spencer blow away the High Street gloom with an 11.5 per cent rise in profits.

The Spice Girl was reported to have bought a black leather dress sold by the chain, ensuring it became one of the biggest hits of the autumn.

M&S was today reporting "good" first half profits of 451.8 million, better than expected by the City. Group sales were up 6.5 per cent at 4.2 billion.

M&S bosses described the 149 "little black dress" as "easily the biggest hit of the season".

Victoria Beckham, right, in a trademark little black dress - she reportedly bought this M&S leather dress too, for 149, and it has since flown off the shelves

A size-eight version was ordered by Mrs Beckham three weeks before it went into stores - she asked for it to be taken in for her size-six figure.

The publicity surrounding the purchase meant that almost 30 per cent of the first order was sold online before it reached the shelves.

At the height of its popularity the leather dress was the biggest selling line in the whole M&S group.

A second batch of 400 delivered last month to the Marble Arch store sold out in 48 hours. Analysts said the demand underlines the huge power of a celebrity endorsement.

Another big autumn success was a wool coat modelled in a campaign fronted by the band Take That for the Autograph range. Sales of the coat surged 245 per cent after the launch of the campaign.

In food the products doing well were those with an ethical flavour - organic food sales were up 40 per cent - and those in the treat category.

Sales of the gastropub ready meals such as langoustine gnocchi have surged to almost 50 million a year.

The solid interim financial results from one of the country's highest profile retailers will help ease fears that the High Street is heading for a Christmas meltdown because of higher mortgage bills and a cooling property market.

M&S said it rode through the appalling summer which badly affected many fashion retailers and has had a "satisfactory" start to the autumn.

Like for like sales in the UK were up 1.2 per cent, the ninth consecutive quarter of growth since Stuart Rose took over as chief executive in 2004.

Mr Rose told shareholders: "We had a good first half despite a tough market impacted by unseasonable trading conditions and at a time when many of our stores were undergoing major refurbishment.

"Whilst the short-term economic outlook remains uncertain, the actions we have taken to reposition and revitalise M&S over the last three years put us in a good position to outperform and give us confidence in long term growth prospects."


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