M&S sees Christmas sales fall, but cheers ‘steady’ trading

Marks & Spencer has insisted it is seeing “encouraging early signs” despite further falls in clothing and food sales over its Christmas quarter.

The retail bellwether said like-for-like clothing and home sales dropped 2.4% over the 13 weeks to December 29 while comparable food sales fell 2.1%.

Total clothing and home sales fell by 4.8% as it was knocked by a raft of store closures under its overhaul.

The group said while unusually warm weather and falling consumer confidence made for a “very challenging” November, overall trading in its third quarter was “steady with some early encouraging signs”.

M&S also confirmed it remained on track for its full-year profit guidance.

Chief executive Steve Rowe said: “Against the backdrop of well-publicised difficult market conditions, our performance remained steady across the period.

“Our food business traded successfully over Christmas as customers responded to improved value.

“Our transformation programme remains on track.”

- Press Association

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