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Retailers to defy gloom

M&S ready to spring surprise with Xmas uplift

M&S labelHigh street retailers are set to defy the gloomy outlook surrounding the sector with better than expected Christmas figures from some of the biggest chains.

Last week’s grim trading update from Next wiped millions off its value and sparked worries of a bloodbath in the sector.

However, analysts believe there will be better figures to come. John Lewis has already reported a surge in like-for-like sales,

Debenhams, Morrisons, and Tesco are said to have done well with Marks & Spencer set to be the biggest, and most surprising, winner.

Analysts are pencilling in a 0.2% rise in the beleaguered clothing and home sales division which has been in decline for years.

It would be only the second time in 23 quarters that M&S has been able to record a positive figure in this division.

Former CEO Marc Bolland threw millions at new lines and promotions but could not stop the rot.

Halting the decline would be a huge boost to his successor Steve Rowe who may also give an update on the store closure programme.

Debenhams is on course to record 0.5% like-for-like sales growth, while Primark owner Associated British Foods is heading for a 2% rise.

Morrisons, for so long the struggler in the supermarket sector, is expected to show further progress in its turnaround campaign.

Tesco is also showing a return to form, and may even have managed to resist the traditional switch to M&S and Waitrose for Christmas food.


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