MARKS & Spencer is expected to unveil a mixed bag when it posts its interim results this week, with food again doing better than clothing-dominated general merchandise.
The City believes the retailer’s same-floorspace general merchandise sales fell 1.2 per cent in its second trading quarter, unhelped by wet weather in August.
By contrast, like-for-like food sales at M&S are expected to have lifted 0.2 per cent, as its upmarket produce continues to outperform a UK grocery market that has been hit by deflation for more than a year.
In May, M&S turned a corner by posting its first annual profits increase in four years, progress that chief executive Marc Bolland will hope to maintain.
Analysts expect the interim pre-tax profit to have edged up 0.7 per cent to £270 million, although the news on the womenswear sales front is likely to take some of the gloss off.
Bolland took over at M&S in 2010 and during his tenure rival Next has overtaken it in profitability.