Marks & Spencer clothing sales fail to measure up

Helena Bonham Carter stars in the Marks and Spencer Christmas advert. Picture: Contributed

Helena Bonham Carter stars in the Marks and Spencer Christmas advert. Picture: Contributed

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MARKS & Spencer will plead for more time to turn around its struggling clothing business when figures today are expected to show further deterioration and falling half-year profits.

The chain is set to report its ninth consecutive quarter of falling general merchandise sales – which span clothing and homewares – when it publishes results for the six months to the end of September.

Another fall in general merchandise sales, which analysts expect to decline by 1.5 per cent in its second quarter, would heap more pressure on chief executive Marc Bolland.

The former Morrisons boss has invested heavily in advertising campaigns featuring stars including Dame Helen Mirren and Helena Bonham-Carter, pictured, to revive clothing sales.

Analysts on average expect M&S to report pre-tax profits of £262 million for the six months, down from £289.5m a year earlier.

But despite predictions of more glum general merchandise trading, the company’s shares have soared over the past year, including a sharp spike in recent weeks.

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