Marks & Spencer has revealed ‘mixed’ festive trading in the UK after another steep fall in sales in its clothing arm and disappointing trading in its food halls.
According to the Daily Mail, the high street retailer blamed a tough October for a 2.8% fall in like-for-like clothing and home sales over the 13 weeks to December 30, while it said that ’ongoing under-performance’ in its food arm saw sales fall 0.4%.
However, Marks & Spencer said that a pick up in trading over the key Christmas weeks helped make up for a weak clothing market and more difficult trading in its food business. Marks & Spencer said that it didn't slash prices, despite intense competition on the high street, and saw sales grow both in store and online in the weeks leading up to Christmas. It also shunned the Black Friday discount frenzy in November, but it said that the unusually warm October left overall sales lower, while it was also left with more stock to shift in the post-Christmas sales.
Overall, its third quarter like-for-like sales were 1.4% lower. Online sales at M&S.com lifted 3%, while its ongoing move to pull out of international markets saw overseas sales slump 9.8%. M&S slashed prices on 200 lines before Christmas, but admitted that it had not been competitive enough on everyday lines to lure in shoppers. It said premium sales fared well, but it suffered on sales of Brussels sprouts, as consumers defected to rivals for more basic products.
The group will open 80 Simply Food shops this financial year, having previously aimed for 90 stores. It also announced earlier this week that it would outsource more than half of its 430 IT roles as part of a technology overhaul that will save around £30 million a year.
© 2018 - Checkout Magazine by Maev Martin