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Christmas reprieve for M&S and Debenhams

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.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Imagine how much better those Xmas figures would have been without the facade of Black Friday.

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  • It seems to be so far that Christmas was not as bad as some predicted however, it appears that online sales have made the figures look respectable, as the decline in footfall continues apace and shows little chance of levelling off.

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