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M&S clothing slump hits Q3 results

Marks & Spencer’s clothing arm has once again dragged its results down, with total UK general merchandising down 2.2% over the 13 weeks to December 29.

On a like-for-like basis, the decline was even more pronounced, dropping 3.8%.

The figures for general merchandise, which includes clothing, come on the back of a second quarter rise of just 0.1% and a 6.8% drop in GM’s Q1 total sales.

However group sales edged up 0.6%, with food, multichannel and international all recording growth. Ecommerce in particular helped to bolster the business, with a rise of 10.8%, while international sales grew a solid 4.1%.

Chief executive Marc Bolland acknowledged that performance of general merchandise was “not yet satisfactory” but insisted that “steps being taken by the new management team will address this”.

The statement noted that the team, under executive director John Dixon - newly promoted from his former food role, had “managed stocks tightly, resulting in slightly less stock into the Christmas sale, and a clean position at the end of the quarter”.

It added that its forthcoming spring 13 collection had been “well received by the fashion press”.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Without being too disrespectful to M&S, this is no surprise. Next time you go into the clothing areas of M&S, look at the people around you - that says it all.

    Unless M&S changes direction, it could be finished within 15 years - at least in its current format.

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  • Bolland is saying the new solve all their clothing problems but this is unlikely to happen with his single minded management style. M&S bought in Carol Boyes-Weston as head of design for Per Una and Limited but she walked out after only 4 months as she was not allowed to make the changes needed. Same old story - Bolland needs to go.

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