M&S clothing sales cut by British lockdown measures

Marks & Spencer (M&S) saw another big fall in sales of clothing and homeware in the Christmas quarter as COVID-19 restrictions hit demand and closed space, factors it said were masking progress made on its turnaround plan.

Reuters | Updated: 08-01-2021 16:50 IST | Created: 08-01-2021 16:41 IST
M&S clothing sales cut by British lockdown measures
Representative Image Image Credit: Pixabay

Marks & Spencer (M&S) saw another big fall in sales of clothing and homeware in the Christmas quarter as COVID-19 restrictions hit demand and closed space, factors it said were masking progress made on its turnaround plan. M&S Chief Executive Steve Rowe said that the latest national lockdowns across Britain announced this month, which could potentially extend until Easter, meant clothing and home sales would likely deteriorate further.

"Near term trading remains very challenging but we are continuing to accelerate change under our Never the Same Again programme to ensure the business emerges from the pandemic in very different shape," Rowe told reporters. He said the Christmas performance was "robust...in near impossible conditions" and M&S had made "good progress" in repositioning clothing and home ranges and buying.

However, this was hidden by the effects of COVID-19 restrictions and demand distortions, Rowe added. M&S, one of the best known names in British retail, said revenue in its clothing and home division slumped 25.1% in the 13 weeks to Dec. 26, its fiscal third quarter, having fallen 21.3% in the previous quarter.

Food sales did, however, rise 2.2%, building on a 1.6% second quarter increase at M&S, which was struggling to reinvent itself after decades of failed attempts before the pandemic. SHARES SLIP

M&S said in May that the crisis would indelibly change its business and it would speed-up its latest turnaround plan, delivering three years of change in one. In August, it cut 7,000 jobs and in November it reported a first loss in its 94 years as a publicly listed company.

M&S shares were down 2.3% at 1055 GMT, extending year-on-year losses to 29% after the results, which showed a fall of 46.5% in clothing and home store sales was partly offset by online growth of 47.5%. Rowe said food had performed particularly well in the four-week period leading up to Christmas, with like-for-like sales, excluding hospitality and franchise up 8.7%, with large retail park and Simply Food stores significantly outperforming.

He said M&S's joint venture with Ocado had also performed well. M&S's said its international revenue fell 10.4% due to changing restrictions related to the pandemic and warned that potential post-Brexit tariffs on goods exported to the European Union, together with complex administrative processes, would significantly impact its businesses in Ireland, the Czech Republic and its franchise business in France.

It said it is working to mitigate the issues.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Addressing conflict-related sexual violence at long last

... ...

Why unequal access to coronavirus vaccines is a threat to us all

... ...

India’s love affair with fossil fuels: the path to sustainable development?

... ...

Videos

Latest News

US welcomes steps taken to return J-K to full economic and political normalcy

The United States on Wednesday welcomed the steps taken by New Delhi to return the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir to full economic and political normalcy consistent with Indias democratic values.State Department Spokesperson Ned Price...

California crash victims suspected of being smuggled across U.S.-Mexico border

The 13 people killed in a Southern California highway crash were part of a group of nearly four dozen migrants suspected of slipping through a hole cut by human smugglers through a steel fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, federal officials...

Man found guilty of murder in 2018 Toronto van attack, life in prison likely

A man who plowed a rented van into dozens of people in Toronto in 2018 is guilty of murdering 10 people and attempting to murder 16, a judge ruled on Wednesday, dismissing a defense argument that a mental disorder left the driver unaware of...

Senate Democrats delay introduction of Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid bill

The U.S. Senate delayed the start of debate on President Joe Bidens 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill until at least Thursday after reaching a deal to phase out 1,400 payments to higher-income Americans in a compromise with moderate Democra...

Give Feedback