MARKS & Spencer will reveal the extent of its online delivery problems on Thursday, when it delivers its update on festive trading.
The retailer was forced to extend delivery times for orders placed over the internet as a new distribution centre in Leicestershire struggled to cope with heavy demand in the run-up to Christmas. To ensure that delivery options offered to customers were accurate, M&S extended slots on its website for standard delivery from three to five days to as many as ten days and withdrew next-day delivery, prompting complaints from customers.
Online sales fell 6.3 per cent in the first half of the year, but chief executive Marc Bolland said performance improved during the second quarter “and we remain on track to return to growth ahead of our peak trading period”.
Pressure on Bolland has intensified after a 13th successive quarter of falling sales in its clothing division. The chain’s general merchandise arm, which includes clothing, is expected to report a 3 per cent dip in like-for-like sales for the 13 weeks to 27 December, an improvement on the previous quarter’s 4 per cent fall.