Marks & Spencer will reveal its worst slump in clothing sales since the arrival of chief executive Marc Bolland three years ago.The beleaguered chief executive will attempt to blame the unseasonably cold weather for the sales slump, but the figures will increase the pressure for him to deliver his long-promised turnround in the chain’s fortunes. Via Retail round up the Sunday papers
Analysts are concerned about lacklustre styles, which they believe are in urgent need of rejuvenation. Bolland has already told shareholders that they will have to wait until autumn for any improvement in the clothing departments, but every drop in sales in the meantime will make the recovery more challenging.
Family-owned cobbler and key cutter Timpson intends to open 100 stores to add to its 1,000 branches. The plan emerged in the chain’s results, which showed a slight rise in turnover to £134 million in the year to September, boosted by its tie-up with Tesco and Sainsbury’s, which saw more stores open in out-of-town shopping centres. Profits, however, were squeezed, falling to £10.1 million from £12.8 million after what the directors called ’a tricky year’.
Hopes that the weak pound has helped to lure tourists to Britain and boost exports are set to be dashed by official figures due this week. On Thursday, official figures will show how many foreigners came to Britain and how many Britons went abroad. The figures cover February, and seem certain to show a continued deficit on British earnings from foreign visitors as against the money spent abroad by Britons.
Wintry weather last month provided a further boost to the already booming online retail sector with internet spending up 12 per cent in March, according to Barclaycard.
The credit card group’s figures, provided exclusively to Financial Mail, showed spending in stores rose just 0.4 per cent compared with March last year, confirming fears that the ice and snow had kept shoppers away from the high street. In total, spending increased 2.5 per cent compared to March last year, slightly below inflation, which was 2.8 per cent over the same period.
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