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M&S beats forecasts as it says no to discounting

MARKS &amp; SPENCER (M&amp;S) yesterday said that there would be no blanket promotions that dominated the high street last year in the run up to the Christmas period, after its half year&nbsp; sales beat City forecasts.<br /><br />Executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose yesterday said that this year included very different circumstances. He said:&nbsp; &ldquo;Last year people thought the world was ending... They needed a kickstart. But now people are fed up with being fed up and starting to treat themselves again.&rdquo;<br /><br />M&amp;S posted pre-tax profits of &pound;306.7m for the six months to 26 September. Total sales grew by 2.8 per cent during the period, but UK like-for-like sales during the six months floundered at minus 0.9 per cent. <br /><br />M&amp;S also announced it will be introducing 400 lines of branded products including Kit-Kat and Marmite, into stores for the first time,&nbsp; in a bid to allow customers to do all their shopping under one roof. <br /><br />The retailer has also launched an aggressive marketing campaign against Waitrose&rsquo;s recent launch of its cheaper &ldquo;essentials&rdquo; range - claiming that M&amp;S is cheaper than Waitrose despite consumers&rsquo; &ldquo;wrong perceptions&rdquo;.