John Ibbotson / 13th January 2017
M&S has produced a set of strong figures for the Christmas Trading period. What’s surprising about them is the performance of their clothing range, of late food has out shone clothing but these figures show people are back wearing M&S. Here are my thoughts:
“Forget food, for once the focus is clothing.
“A much stronger than expected third quarter performance from clothing will mean a lot to everyone at M&S.
“Food was always going to hit it out of the field but the real story here is the respectable performance of Clothing and Home.
“Yes, the performance of Clothing and Home needs to be caveated by extra sales days and the cold weather following 2015’s mild winter. But what matters is the numbers are up.
“M&S has struggled with clothing for many years now and this resurgence will be celebrated. But it cannot yet be called a victory. 2017 will tell us whether it’s a festive flash-in-the-pan or the beginning of a genuine fightback.
“Steve Rowe’s plan may be working but there is a long way to go yet.
“M&S has too many High Street stores in the wrong locations and huge competition on fashion and food, both online and in-store.
“To make matters worse, today’s younger shoppers no longer have an emotional bond with M&S clothing, while older people are losing it.
“Talk of a new dawn for M&S clothing would be ridiculously premature, but this performance is without doubt a mini victory.”