Marks & Spencer is planning to cut back on the space dedicated to clothing in some of its UK stores as sales continue to drop.
The high street retailer today revealed general merchandise sales fell by 5% in the 13 weeks ending December 26, down 5.8% on a like-for-like basis.
It is now looking to replace some of its clothing floorspace in eight UK stores with food over the next six months. It is not yet known how much clothing space will be lost or which stores will be affected.
The move would signal a U-turn for M&S, which reduced the amount of space devoted to food around 10 years ago.
A spokesman for M&S confirmed the changes planned for eight locations but denied plans to alter swathes of stores.
“We will move some space from GM to food in eight stores over the next few months. This is part of our regular work to ensure every store has the best possible set up for our customers,” he added.
M&S blamed the third consecutive quarter of falling clothing sales, which fell over the Christmas period, on unseasonal conditions and problems with availability. Performance of the business’s upmarket food range during the same period was far more positive, up 3.7%, or 0.4%, on a like-for-like basis.
M&S also announced today that current chief executive Marc Bolland is to leave the business in April and will be succeeded by Steve Rowe, who is currently executive director of general merchandise.