Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Britain's M&S feels heat from mild October as sales stumble

Britain's M&S feels heat from mild October as sales stumble

The retailer also said food sales were down, by 0.4%, for the 13 weeks to 30 December - though both figures were slightly better than the City had expected.

The timing of these companies' announcements couldn't come at a more telling time, coming against the backdrop of a stellar period for German discounters, as per Kantar data earlier in the week, and outstanding performances from fashion retailers.

"Rowe's five-year plan is no more than a profit stabilisation strategy and (we) see better value elsewhere", Investec's Kate Calvert, who has a "sell" rating on M&S, said.

But Tesco missed overall group forecasts for Christmas trading as strong sales of fresh food were undermined by lower demand for general goods such as DVDs and computer games.

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We've already had a first glimpse of that here on Monday where United Kingdom 2017 consumer spending fell for the first time in five years.

It said own brand food ranges had performed strongly but general merchandise sales dragged like-for-like sales down by 0.6 percentage points over the Christmas period.

The gains made during the 19 weeks to January 5 cover the important Christmas trading period.

Tesco rival Morrisons this week beat Christmas trading expectations, but Marks & Spencer saw clothing sales fall in the run up to the festive period.

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Tesco did take a hit from lost tobacco sales after wholesaler Palmer & Harvey collapsed in November.

Rowe, who said he was working well with Norman, said M&S had cut prices on about 200 food lines before Christmas but would do more to improve its competitiveness, availability, supply chain and waste reduction.

John Lewis gross sales were just above £1 billion in the six weeks to December 30, helped by the Black Friday week being the busiest in its history.

The FTSE is up 11 points this Thursday morning to fresh high's on the back of a weaker Pound, which is being held back despite yesterday's positive United Kingdom manufacturing data. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser.

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