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Marks & Spencer sees fall in third quarter sales

Marks & Spencer saw its UK like-for-like sales decline in its third quarter as both food and clothing and merchandise sales edged down.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Marks & Spencer sees fall in third quarter sales

In the 13 weeks to 30 December, like-for-like food sales fell by 0.4% while clothing and merchandise sales dropped by 2.8%. 

Steve Rowe, M&S chief executive, said: “M&S had a mixed quarter with better Christmas trading in both businesses going some way to offset a weak clothing market in October and ongoing underperformance in our food like-for-like sales. As a result, full year guidance remains unchanged.”

M&S said revenue grew both in-store and online in the weeks leading up to Christmas in the clothing and merchandise category. During the period, the retailer held a full price stance and did not participate in Black Friday. However, the impact of unseasonal weather in October resulted in an overall revenue decline. As a result, the retailer carried more stock into the December sale.

In M&S's food business, price investment before Christmas and a strong performance from seasonal lines helped late trading.

International revenue was down 9.8% in the period, reflecting the completion of the planned closure of owned stores in loss-making markets. In retained owned and franchise markets, constant currency revenue increased by 6.5%.

Rowe added: “We continue with the accelerated transformation programme we outlined in November and have recently taken several important steps to reshape the business for the future. These include a new technology partnership and organisation, and the sale of our Hong Kong based business in line with the streamlined franchise-led model we are adopting for international.”

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