Sales slump at Marks and Spencer
Sales at retailer Marks and Spencer slumped in the third quarter, as it opted out of the discount-driven market and offered fewer promotions.
In the thirteen weeks to December 29th, revenues fell by 3.8 per cent, the largest decline since 2011, although food sales at stores open at least a year rose by 0.3 per cent, the UK retailer said in a trading statement.
Clothing sales were “much worse than competitors, reflecting the strength of competition that M&S faces and the weakness of its ranges and in-store merchandising,” said Nick Bubb, an independent retail analyst in London.
The results from M&S compare with those from Debenhams, which earlier this week said that sales rose by 2.9 per cent, as it offered more money-off to shoppers already strapped for cash.
Marks and Spencer stock fell as much as 11 pence to 353.5 pence following the announcement. That was the biggest intra-day drop since Aug. 25, 2011.
“In terms of profitability, we made a clear choice” not to chase sales at the expense of profit, chief executive officer Marc Bolland said. Still, he conceded that the performance in general merchandise was “not satisfactory”.
(Additional reporting Bloomberg)