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City braced for M&S gloom

Marks & Spencer is expected to reveal a downbeat performance at its preliminary results on Tuesday, as consumers reign in their spending.

Analysts said sales may have picked up this month with the arrival of warmer weather, but that this was unlikely to make up for a difficult April.

Pali International analyst Nick Bubb downgraded the retailer to “sell”, saying that although sales dipped at mid-market rival Next, it was more prepared for a downturn.

He said: “A better May so far won’t offset the terrible April that M&S suffered and at this stage, given the structural and cyclical pressures on the business, we still expect the downgrades for next year with the finals to take the shares lower.”

The note followed a reduction in profits by 8% to £830 million for the next financial year by Credit Suisse analyst Tony Shiret, who said mid-market retailers had found the severity of trading conditions greater than they planned for.

The City is also expecting more information on M&S’s store refurbishment plans, which could be scaled back.

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