Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Economy | By Shawn Conner

Unseasonal weather dents Christmas sales at Marks & Spencer

Unseasonal weather dents Christmas sales at Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer recorded a 1.1% uplift in United Kingdom revenue, but worldwide sales were down 9.8%, reflected the completion of the planned closure of owned stores in loss-making markets.

But shares in M&S fell as much as 7 percent on Thursday after it said comparable sales of clothing, homeware and food had all fallen in its fiscal third quarter, albeit not by as much as most analysts had forecast.

The group also reported data for the third quarter, with United Kingdom like-for-like sales up 2.3%, having increased 2.1% in the second quarter.

On a grim day for United Kingdom grocers, shares in the UK's #1 supermarket Tesco are down this morning, towards the bottom of the pile on a notable Christmas sales miss. In the ROI, third-quarter and Christmas sales climbed 3.3% and 4% respectively.

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Other retailers Waitrose and John Lewis also reported an increase over the critical trading period but Marks and Spencer reported "mixed" results with disappointing clothing and food sales.

Just today, fashion retailers announce sales revenues 10-25% higher over the Christmas period, as companies both young (Boohoo) and old (Ted Baker) see bumper demand, further projecting the image of the cash conscious United Kingdom consumer wanting bang for their buck, especially at yuletide.

According to Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis: "We have continued to outperform the market throughout this period, particularly in fresh food, thanks to our most competitive offer for many years".

The high street bellwether blamed a mild October for a 2.8% fall in like-for-like clothing and home sales over the 13 weeks to December 30, while it said "ongoing under-performance" in its food arm left sales 0.4% lower.

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Food sales rose 3.6% on a total basis to £1.666bn, but like-for-like food sales were down 0.4%.

Its shares still tumbled more than 4pc as its trading in the quarter was hit by the collapse of wholesaler Palmer & Harvey which disrupted Tesco's tobacco supply lines.

Like-for-like sales at Marks & Spencer (M&S) were underwhelming, dropping by 0.4%.

The company said it remained confident in its outlook for the full year and was firmly on track to deliver its medium-term ambitions.

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