Marks & Spencer and Debenhams are reportedly set to announce small drops in sales over the Christmas period this week, but have avoided having to issue profit warnings, thanks to a last-minute surge in festive spending.
The Sunday Times reported that M&S’s broker, Shore Capital, has said the retailer will report a like-for-like sales decline of 2.5%-3% year on year across clothing and food when it announces its latest results on Thursday 10 January. Profits are expected to sit slightly below the company’s anticipated £528m estimate.
Analysts are also expecting Debenhams to announce a similar drop in sales, down 2%-3% over the Christmas period. Despite avoiding a profit warning, The Times reports that analysts at JP Morgan are “extremely concerned” about the company.
The first set of Christmas results emerged last week, and showed a late boost to sales offered a slight reprieve for some struggling retailers. Christmas sales at Next edged up by 1.5% for the period between 28 October and 29 December 2018 year on year, as strong online growth offset ailing retail sales. This rise was in part thanks to a strong December, which offset poor sales in November.