M&S shares slide as sales disappoint

SHARES in Marks & Spencer tumbled in value today after the resurgent high street giant suffered its first fall in quarterly sales for two years.

SHARES in Marks & Spencer tumbled in value today after the resurgent high street giant suffered its first fall in quarterly sales for two years.

Although total group sales for the 13 weeks to December 29 were up 2.8%, the key like-for-like comparison showed a 2.2% decline.

General merchandise sales were down 3.2% and food sales by 1.5%, with the fall being partly cushioned by a 15.1% jump in international sales.

Chief executive Sire Stuart Rose - who was knighted in the New Year's Honours after leading a revival at M&S - said today: “Market conditions became more challenging through November and December.


You may also want to watch:


“We continued to drive footfall, and volume growth in general merchandise was strong at 5%. Price deflation was 6%, reflecting our continued focus on offering customers better values. We held market share in general merchandise at 10.6% and in food at 4.3%.

“We did not discount in the run up to Christmas. Stock levels were well controlled over the period. We had a strong start to the Christmas Sale and sale stocks have now cleared.

Most Read

“Direct was strong, with sales from our website up 78%, reflecting further growth in customer numbers, transactions and conversion. International also performed well with sales up 15.1% over the period.”

Sir Stuart added: “We expect trading conditions to remain tough throughout 2008. We are well positioned with a strong product offer and better than ever values across our business. We now have 70% of our stores in the modernised format and a strong pipeline of new space for 2008 and beyond. Direct and International continue to make good progress.”

M&S shares had been under pressure for some days, amid speculation that its Christmas figures would be disappointing in a generally difficult festive season on the high street, but its caution over the prospects for 2008 saw its shares slide by a further 17% in early trading today.

Sir Stuart echoed calls for a further cut in interest rates when the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee concludes its monthly meeting tomorrow.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus