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Fashion sales slip further at M&S

Marks & Spencer has announced that like-for-like general merchandise sales, which is mostly fashion, fell 1.2% for the 26 weeks to September 26, due to “unseasonal conditions” and less discounting at the retailer.

Overall general merchandise sales for the half slipped 0.4%. Group sales were up 1.4% to £5bn.

The retailer said it made “significant sourcing gains” during the period and gross margin for general merchandise was up 285 basis points, beating the 150 to 200 basis point expectation. As a result M&S has raised its full year guidance to 200 to 250 basis points.

Group underlying profit before tax was up 6.1% to £284m.

Online sales increased by 34.2% however international sales were down 0.9% to £506.6m due to adverse movement in the Euro exchange rate, and political unrest in the Middle East.

Marc Bolland, chief executive, said: “In general merchandise we decided to improve profitability by focusing on gross margin, delivering another significant increase, which in part resulted in slightly lower sales. As a consequence of good performance and strong cash generation we have decided to increase our dividend.”

Readers' comments (4)

  • Maybe if the focussed on Quality, Service & Value instead of Margin the customers would come back and Trust would be restored.

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  • Suede skirt anyone? You've got to love how PR influences journalism.

    22% drop in profits according to BBC website.

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  • Its interesting how you have reported the profit - the BBC makes more sense on profit and takes out the one off benefits.
    I can't do it but i am sure someone will work out if the margin is going up so much and sales because of less promotions why is the bottom line not benefiting as much - my guess is that they are running the same amount of promotions ! If you need anything from them now you just have to wait for a couple of weeks and get a 20% off voucher through. No point in buying full price anymore.

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  • M&S are a busted flush and employing staff from a different era continues to drag them down.

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