One of the highlights in the full-year results released by retailer Marks & Spencer today (20 May) was a 13% jump in like-for-like sales in India.

M&S has been trying to expand from its traditional UK focus to an international, multi-channel retailer. But while total group sales for the year rose 2.7% to GBP10.3bn (US$17.3bn), underlying profit before tax fell 3.9% to GBP623m - declining for the third year in a row.

Earnings were dragged down by a 1.4% drop in like-for-like sales in general merchandise - most of which is clothing. International sales were up 6.2% on a constant currency basis, and Asia sales surged 15.7%.

M&S continued to grow its presence in the Indian market during the year through its partnership with Reliance Retail, which saw the opening of 10 new stores and expansion across the country into new secondary cities such as Kochi, Kanpur and Surat.

M&S currently trades from 40 stores in India, and is targeting a total of 100 stores by 2016 including around 20 Marks & Spencer Lingerie & Beauty stores. M&S saw its lingerie and beauty sales in India increase by 38% and 26% respectively on the previous year.

"During the year our stores in India delivered a good performance with strong double digit growth," explained Venu Nair, managing director of Marks & Spencer Reliance India. "We are continuing to invest into accelerating our growth in India as we build a leadership position in the market."

Click on the following link for the full results: UK: M&S FY earnings hurt by clothing sales decline.