M&S clothing sales drop by 25pc over Xmas

Marks & Spencer (M&S) saw its clothing and home sales drop by almost a quarter over the Christmas trading period.

The decrease in revenue represents an in-store sales decline of 46.5 per cent, which the retailer said was partly offset by strong online sales growth of 47.5 per cent.

The figures, which cover the 13 weeks to 26 December, are likely to have been driven by coronavirus restrictions across November and December last year.

Food sales on the other hand saw an overall increase of 2.6 per cent.

“Given the on-off restrictions and distortions in demand patterns our trading was robust over the Christmas period,” said Steve Rowe, chief executive, Marks & Spencer. “More importantly beneath the Covid clouds we saw a very strong performance from the Food business including Ocado Retail and a further acceleration of Clothing & Home online."

He added that near term trading remains challenging but said the business continues to “accelerate change under our Never the Same Again programme to ensure the business emerges from the pandemic in very different shape.”

The retailer launched the programme last year in a bid to move towards a leaner, faster retail management structure.

The plans involve ditching 950 jobs and aim to make three years' progress in one.

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