M&S sales fall, for the millionth time
Have you been shopping at Marks and Spencer recently? It would suggest no-one has, as their sales have gone and fallen again (for the six months to 26th September). With a shop as (formerly) reliable as M&S, how on Earth can the management balls this up?
As ever, food sales are good, and in fact, increasing - it is just in every other department that the chain is falling down on. General merchandise, including their clothing division, were down by 1.2%.
Of course, the company are still making a profit, but that figure has been falling year-on-year. And right on cue, we've got another shop saying that 'conditions on the high street are challenging'. All the shops chuck that out when these things get announced.
M&S said: "In the second quarter we took a decision to focus on full price sales and discount less which affected sales performance. Despite some improvement in consumer confidence, market conditions continue to be challenging in both the UK and the international markets."
See that? While their rivals are selling products more cheaply, or doing a number of sales and promotions, M&S aren't. They're not into that, and likewise, neither are British consumers. M&S are also designing their own clothing, which isn't a bad idea, until you look at the clothes they're actually trying to sell.
It looks like M&S are going to focus on food sales, which is a good idea, as there's (forgive the pun) an appetite for their wares. Of course, they've just unleashed their Sparks promotion as well, which they're hoping will get people back through the doors.
However, in other departments, M&S looks old-fashioned and overpriced. We'll have to see if they can get their fingers out in the new year.