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M&S profit forecast cut on sales slump fears

Marks & Spencer's profit-before-tax forecast has been cut by 7% by retail analyst Pali International after speculation that sales had slumped by as much as 25% last week.

In a analyst note today Pali International's Nick Bubb cut the full year profit-before-tax forecast from £640m to £599, and by 10% next year from £500m to £450m.

He cut the non-food like-for-like forecast from -8% to -10% for the second half of the year to the end of March.

Bubb said that the retailer's two 20%-off One Day sales in the last few weeks had not impressed shoppers and were likely to have undermined consumer trust.

Bubb said: "Marks & Spencer has many problems, with market share under pressure in both food and clothing, in a fast declining retailing market and we still thin the fast-depreciating freehold properties will be worth no more than expected net debt of £3.1bn at the year-end."

He added: "Marks & Spencer should survive the downturn, but investors have to appreciate that we have not yet got to the bottom of the alarming earnings and dividend decline it will suffer over the next two years to get there."

Marks & Spencer declined to comment on sales performance, and whether or not there would be more discounting before Christmas. The retailer is currently offering up to 30% off selected lines up to Christmas Eve.

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