Analysts expect Marks & Spencer to reveal tomorrow a 1% fall in like-for-like sales across its general merchandise division for the last quarter, as cool weather in May and June hampered clothing sales.
It will come as a setback for the retailer, as chief executive Marc Bolland said at its full-year results six weeks ago that a clothing sales recovery in the fourth quarter was a sign that his turnaround plan was beginning to pay off.
Paul Rossington, an analyst at HSBC, told The Telegraph: “Were it not for the cold weather in May, the impact of which is evident at sector level, we would have expected GM top-line growth to continue.
“Despite this short-term setback, we believe that the long-term turnaround strategy is intact.”
“While the clothing industry had a difficult spring/summer weather comparable versus last year’s almost- ideal weather, M&S had relatively weak comps given its online platform transition issues last year,” said Kate Calvert, an analyst at Investec.
“However, the early start to its Sales – June 17 – implies that May’s cooler weather didn’t help and Q1 like for likes may have turned negative.”
Anaysts at Peel Hunt said while the weather in May had been unhelpful, “it was hardly a monsoon and other fashion retailers…have come through unscathed”.