While M&S avoided a Debenhams-esque disaster, it was a long way from Next’s surprisingly strong Xmas numbers. The perpetually unfashionable clothing and home business was, as ever, the headline casualty, posting a 2.8% plunge in like-for-like sales across the 13 weeks to the end of December – hardly a surprise given the division’s head, Jo Jenkins, shockingly jumped ship in October.
But, but, but, the clothing department is always a bit rubbish; how about the food business, ostensibly the company’s shining star which, on paper, should have received a Christmas boost? Well once again the division under-performed expectations, suffering a 0.4% decline in comparable sales at the same time as its major supermarket rivals all saw some level of growth.
Marks & Spencer just can’t shake its image as a sector dinosaur, with these results nipping a nascent rise in the bud as it fell 2.5% after the bell.