Marks & Spencer saw like-for-like sales fall 7.1% for the 13 weeks to December 27. Clothing sales were down 6.5%.
M&S said total sales fell by 1.2%. UK sales were down 3.4%. Like-for-like sales of general merchandise, which includes clothing, fell by 8.9% over the period. Gross margin is expected to be 175 basis points lower than last year following M&S’s pre-Christmas discount days.
M&S said it went into Sale with 15% less stock than last year.
M&S said it was closing 27 stores and that it would cut 450 jobs, or 15% of its workforce, at its head office. Total job losses will be around 1,200.
M&S executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose said: “We maintained our market share in clothing with particularly good performances in kids and lingerie. Volumes were strong across all areas of clothing…Online performed strongly in Q3 with record traffic driving sales up 29%; stock clearance was especially fast.”