M&S clothing sales hit by trading restrictions in Christmas quarter

Business

Mark’s & Spencer has reported a big fall in clothing and homeware sales during the Christmas quarter, due to retail restrictions and the coronavirus pandemic keeping demand low.

Revenue at the chain’s clothing and home division slumped 25.1% in the 13 weeks to 26 December, its fiscal third quarter, following a 21.3% fall in the previous quarter.

Food sales were up 2.2%, having increased 1.6% in the second quarter.

Chief executive Steve Rowe said: “Given the on-off restrictions and distortions in demand patterns our trading was robust over the Christmas period.

“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 and home online.

“I want to thank all my colleagues for a first-class execution of Christmas for our customers in near impossible conditions.

“Near term trading remains very challenging but we are continuing to accelerate change under our Never the Same Again programme to ensure the business emerges from the pandemic in very different shape.”

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