M&S’ like-for-likes dipped across the business in its last quarter with boss Steve Rowe blaming a poor October for the performance.
The retailer’s total UK like-for-likes fell 1.4% over the 13 weeks to December 30. That decline was led by clothing and home, where like-for-likes were down 2.8%. Like-for-likes at its newly under-pressure food business dipped 0.4%.
Overall, UK revenue was up 1.1% to £2.858bn.
Food revenues were a bright spot, rising 3.6% to £1.666bn, while clothing and home dragged down overall revenues, dropping 2.3% to £1.192m.
Online sales rose 3% to £309m.
Rowe said: “M&S had a mixed quarter with better Christmas trading in both businesses going some way to offset a weak clothing market in October and ongoing underperformance in our food like-for-like sales. As a result, full-year guidance remains unchanged.”
He added that the food business was affected by “ongoing trading pressures continued in the lead up to Christmas as consumer spending and choices reflected tighter budgets”.
Clothing and home was hit by poor trading in October, widely acknowledged to be a tough month across fashion retail, but improved online and in-store in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Despite M&S holding full-price in a promotional market and not participating in Black Friday, a poor October meant it carried greater levels of stock into its December Sale, which hit margin.
Sales at M&S’ international portfolio plummeted 9.8% to £309m, reflecting the planned closure of owned stores in loss-making markets. In retained owned and franchise markets, constant currency revenue increased 6.5%.