M&S clothing sales cut by British lockdown measures

fashion - January 9, 2021

INTERNATIONAL - 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-19restrictions 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. percent in the13 weeks to Dec. 26, its fiscal third quarter, having fallen 21.3 percent in the previous quarter.

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

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