Belfast Telegraph

Fall in clothing sales hits M&S shares

By Graeme Evans

A fresh decline in clothing sales has piled more pressure on Marks & Spencer boss Marc Bolland after a Christmas beset by online delivery problems.

The retailer's general merchandise arm, including homewares and fashion, saw a bigger-than-expected decline in like-for-like sales which fell by 5.8% in the 13 weeks to December 27 - the 14th consecutive quarter that the figure has fallen.

Shares slumped by more than 4% as the update added to signs that investor patience is being tested by the pace of the company's turnaround.

Mr Bolland admitted that the quarter had been a difficult one in general merchandise due to an "unsatisfactory performance" in M&S's e-commerce distribution centre and unseasonal weather conditions. M&S said its website performed well operationally but this was offset by continued disruption at its new distribution centre in Castle Donington, Leicestershire.

Customers complained that they were not able to make in-store click-and-collect orders for the next day, while deliveries to home addresses, which normally take three to five days, were taking up to 10 days.

Belfast Telegraph