Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 12°C

ESTD 1874 Search

WIN A NEW HYUNDAI i10 - See the EADT on June 8 for full details

UK: Pressure mounts on M&S boss Marc Bolland after fall in Christmas sales

09:07 10 January 2013

Marks & Spencer has revealed a bigger-than-expected slump in clothing sales over Christmas

Marks & Spencer has revealed a bigger-than-expected slump in clothing sales over Christmas

PRESSURE on Marks & Spencer boss Marc Bolland intensified today as the City punished the chain for a dismal performance in clothing during the key Christmas period.

shares

M&S shares opened 4% lower following the company’s disclosure last night that like-for-like sales fell by 1.8% in the UK in the 13 weeks to December 29, including a bigger-than-expected slump in general merchandise of 3.8%.

The figures had been due for release this morning but the announcement was brought forward following a leak.

Mr Bolland admitted that trading in non-food was not yet satisfactory but pointed out that the group had decided to protect margins by reducing the level of promotions and keeping more stock at full prices.

He also said a new management team, which includes ex-Jaeger boss Belinda Earl, needed more time to address the turnaround plan, with their first collection for the autumn-winter season not due in the shops until July.

M&S produced a better-than-expected performance in its food business, where sales were up 0.3% on a like-for-like basis.

The group said the launch of more than 700 new products helped it to achieve record sales of almost £330million in the two key Christmas trading weeks.

However, City analysts said time was running out for Mr Bolland to show signs of trading improvement in clothing, particularly given the amount of money being spent on improving the company’s stores.

Shore Capital analyst Clive Black said: “It is clear that pressure is rising on the new management with respect to the nature and performance of forthcoming spring and summer clothing ranges at M&S in the UK, and an improvement in relative and absolute terms is necessary for shareholders’ confidence to be bolstered.”

Seymour Pierce said it planned to cut £10 million from its forecast for profits in the year to April to £645 million, a figure which compares with the £1 billion-plus achieved by the chain in the 2008 financial year.

The results come in contrast to other retail giants Next and John Lewis, which reported strong sales growth over the Christmas period.

Mr Bolland, who took over as chief executive in 2010, said it had been a “challenging and highly promotional” general merchandise market.

M&S said its free next day store collection initiative helped push online sales up 10.8% over the festive period, with sales from mobile phones and tablet computers up 90%.

But the group said it was cautious about the year ahead and it expected to see continued pressure on consumers’ disposable incomes.

shares

0 comments

Retail sales are

Retail sales are “bounding ahead” as falling prices and a boost to consumer spending power is giving retailers the most upbeat outlook for 27 years, according to new figures.

A Ryanair passenger plane after take off from Stansted Airport.

Budget airline Ryanair saw profits growth take off last year as a revamp designed to improve its image and attract business customers sent earnings soaring by 66%.

The New Anglia Growth Hub team, including its business growth advisers who offer free support to businesses in Suffolk and Norfolk.

New Anglia Growth Hub has beaten its target of providing support for 3,000 businesses in its first year.

Andrew Rowe, managing director of Concertus.

Andrew Rowe, managing director at Ipswich based Concertus Design & Property Consultants, has been appointed as finance director for SPACES, the new society that has been formed from a merger between SCALA (Society for Construction and Architecture in Local Authorities) and SCEME (Society of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers serving Local Government).

Greene King apprentice Tamara-Leigh Kirkham.

Greene King has been named VQ Large Employer of the Year for 2015, in recognition of its support for members of its workforce undertaking vocational qualifications (VQs).

Sizewell A and B

Staff at the redundant Sizewell A nuclear power station will have to wait to find out if their jobs are safe from planned redundancies.

The opening of Precision Marketing's new headquarters in Bury St Edmunds.

An expanding marketing services firm celebrated the official opening of its new head office in Bury St Edmunds yesterday.

Abby Curtis who is opening Pump and Grind coffee shop in Great Colman Street with Tom Kerridge

The business team behind a new cafe have said they are disappointed they will not able to serve alcohol when opening for the first time on Saturday.

Arlingtons new art exhibition, Liz and Ken Ambler at the launch

Music, art, wine and a great deal more

Steven and Debbie Morgan pictured when they took over The Royal Oak earlier this year

Firefighters were called to a pub last night following a water leak which caused flooding.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages