Unseasonal weather dents Christmas sales at Marks & Spencer

Chelsea West
January 12, 2018

Chief executive Steve Rowe said that consumers were "definitely facing a squeeze on spending" as the retailer posted a 1.4pc fall in group like-for-like sales over the 13 weeks to December 30.

The group also reported data for the third quarter, with United Kingdom like-for-like sales up 2.3%, having increased 2.1% in the second quarter. Both retailers reported updates in line with expectations with no change to their full year forecasts.

United Kingdom retailer Marks & Spencer has posted a 1.4% decline in like-for-like sales in its home market in its third quarter, with Food sales down 0.4% and Clothing & Home sales down 2.8%.

United Kingdom rivals Sainsbury's, Britain's second largest supermarket group, and fourth-ranked Morrisons, both beat forecasts for Christmas trading.

According to its latest trading update, third quarter like-for-like sales in the United Kingdom grew by 2.3 per cent - representing Tesco's eighth consecutive quarter of growth - and total sales grew 2.5 per cent.

Tesco shares fell around 4 per cent today morning despite the supermarket announcing record sales over Christmas period.

Tesco's sales in Central Europe increased by 0.6 per cent but Asia declined by 11.1 per cent, resulting in a group like-for-like sales growth of 0.6 per cent for the quarter.

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Supermarket Morrisons also had promising financial results.

Lidl has claimed it was the "fastest growing supermarket" over Christmas after booking record festive sales. In the United Kingdom total sales were up 1.1% to £2.858bn, but on a like-for-like basis - in stores open a year or more where comparable figures can be taken - United Kingdom sales were down 1.4%.

On the other side of the high street, it was a similar story for Marks & Spencer, this morning's worst performing FTSE 100 stock.

Over Christmas, sales of fresh food brands and the Tesco finest range were particularly strong.

To the other end of the market and Waitrose - part of the John Lewis Partnership - reported gross sales of £928mln, up 1.5% versus previous year on a like-for-like basis.

M&S said a pick up in trading over the key Christmas weeks helped make up for a weak clothing market and more hard trading in its food business, with consumer spending under pressure amid a squeeze on budgets from inflation.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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