What's wrong with Marks and Spencer?
It is another lousy day for Marks and Spencer as their profits take a battering, dragged down by lousy clothes sales. So bad is the situation, that their boss Marc Bolland and his management team are going to lose their bonuses.
It isn't just clothes sales that are down. Apart from the food, M&S are just being rubbish at everything. Annual profits (to the end of March) were down 3.9%, which is still £623million in the bank, but down from £665.2million at the same time last year.
One backhanded compliment for the company is that shares were slightly up at the London Stock Exchange, mainly because experts thought that the profit fall would have been much, much worse.
To make matters worse for Marks & Sparks, is that their rivals at Next have overtaken them with earnings for the first time. M&S' adverts starring a bunch of people that no-one really recognises or cares about will need a rejig, as will their clothing ranges, which have been tediously dull for a while now.
The biggest bugbear from customers is that there's been a drop in quality, but not a drop in price. It is foolish to think that customers wouldn't notice.
Bolland is bullish though, saying that, after trying to fix holes in the company for 3 years, M&S are showing 'solid progress'. Progress, it seems, means keeping the UK on an even keel while focusing on expansion overseas, in markets like India and China. That'll upset the blue rinse brigade and club house golfers.
How do you cock-up a company with a reputation like Marks & Spencer?