M&S attracts attention as clothing sales retreat eases

Marks & Spencer has seen clothing sales come under pressure
Marks & Spencer has seen clothing sales come under pressure
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MARKS & Spencer provided some cheer for under-pressure investors yesterday as it delivered sales results that were not as bad as feared.

The high street stalwart said like-for-like sales across its clothing and home arm fell 2.7 per cent in the 13 weeks to 26 March, as price deflation created a “challenging backdrop” for trade.

But the sales came in ahead of city forecasts for a 3.4 per cent fall and improved on its performance in the previous quarter.

M&S said its food business continued to outperform a highly competitive market as like-for-like sales remained flat over the period.

It comes days after new chief executive Steve Rowe said he would remain in charge of the clothing and home division because he was “personally committed” to getting it right.

Haitong Research analysts noted: “It is game on now that new management is in place. These figures are to a degree about the base not eroding and that has been achieved.”