Belfast Telegraph

Online problems hit M&S sales ahead of festive rush

By John-Paul Ford Rojas

Beleaguered retailer Marks & Spencer has been hit by online delivery problems in the key pre-Christmas period in a fresh blow to its recovery plans.

The issues mean customers are not able to make in-store click-and-collect orders for the next day, while deliveries to home addresses, normally taking three to five days, are taking up to 10 days.

Shares fell 3% as reports of the problems blunted hopes of a revival in M&S’s fortunes, a month after signs of improved trading in womenswear and a surprise rise in half-year profits cheered the City.

Marks’s revamped website had already been proving a headache with sales down 6.3% in the six months to the end of September.

M&S said there were “always going to be challenges” at the “relatively new distribution centre”.

It said a four-day period that included “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” had proved very popular and prompted it to extend delivery times. M&S has struggled to get its new website up to speed since it was launched in February, blaming teething problems including issues with customer registration.

Online sales were also down in the second quarter, but not as badly as the previous period and M&S said last month they were on an improving trend.

A spokesman said: “Our customer is always our top priority and that is why we’ve extended some of our delivery options. The vast majority of orders are delivered on time. If we do miss a delivery date, we will do all we can to rectify it for the customer.”

Belfast Telegraph