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Weak Christmas trading

M&S suffers further slump in womenswear sales

M&S labelMarks & Spencer is this week expected to reveal a further fall in clothing sales over the Christmas period as chief Marc Bolland enters another year with the same challenge hanging over his job.

Analysts predict its food arm to have done well, although general merchandise, which includes womenswear,  is likely to have suffered again.

Retail analyst Nick Bubb is forecasting a 3% drop in like-for-like sales, while Fraser Ramzen at Nomura is more pessimistic, expecting a 5.5% decline in line with the previous year’s 5.8% plunge. However, much of 2014’s problems were associated with it its distribution centre.

There is also said to be some disappointment among shoppers over its Sparks loyalty card which does not provide the sort of rewards associated with rival schemes. There are reports this morning that Suzanna Broer, who heads the scheme, has left the company, though this has not said to be related to its performance.

Next is expected to have enjoyed a good festive season, while John Lewis is also due to update on Christmas trading on Wednesday.

Its latest figures showed that more shoppers than ever chose to shop online, boosting total sales by 2.3%.


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