Retail news round-up on January 6, 2014: Marks & Spencer likely to post disappointing festive sales, Sainsbury’s to stop selling physical media online, Sports Direct comes under fire for encouraging sexism and Jigsaw enjoys Christmas sales jump

Marks & Spencer likely to post disappointing festive sales

Analysts have warned that Marks & Spencer looks set to disappoint investors when it reports its festive trading update on Thursday. General merchandising sales are forecast to have slipped despite aggressive discounting activity, including a ‘Mega Day’ which offered 30% reductions on clothing on the Saturday before Christmas. Although food sales are expected to have increased by 1.5% to 2% in the three months to the end of December, analysts anticipate that homewares and clothing will have decreased by between 0.5% and 1.5%, heaping pressure on chief executive Marc Bolland, who had pinned M&S’ festive hopes on a revamped autumn/winter clothing range.

Sainsbury’s to stop selling physical media online

Sainsbury’s will cease internet sales of physical media products such as CDs, DVDs, and books as it seeks to cut delivery costs, The Telegraph reported. The supermarket retailer is to stop taking online orders from the end of February. The move is a boost to high street entertainment retailers such as HMV. Sainsbury’s Entertainment website, launched in November 2010, will be moved to a completely on-demand model from March. Sainsbury’s supermarkets will continue selling physical media.

House of Fraser set to appoint advisors for potential £350m IPO

House of Fraser is poised to appoint HSBC and Numis as its advisers on a possible £350m IPO, The Financial Times reported. HSBC has been a long-term lender to the department store chain, while Numis already advises several mid-market retailers. Separately, French department store group Galeries Lafayette is in discussions to take control of House of Fraser, and it is thought the two have until the end of January to hammer out a deal.

Sports Direct comes under fire for encouraging sexism

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has been accused of sexism after selling a toy set of cleaning products branded ‘It’s Girl Stuff!’, The Telegraph reported. The set, which encompasses a dustpan, brushes and spray bottle, is sold in bright pink packaging adorned with flowers and a ‘female’ sign. The retailer is facing a growing backlash online from angry consumers calling for the retailer to pull the range from its shelves. The set has been made by manufacturer KandyToys and is being sold for £5 on the Sports Direct website.

Jigsaw enjoys 17% jump in underlying like-for-likes over Christmas

Privately owned fashion chain Jigsaw recorded a 17% rise in underlying like for like sales over the crucial Christmas trading period. Online sales surged 39% in the five weeks to December 28. Jigsaw chief executive Peter Ruis, who joined from John Lewis last year, said the performance was helped by not going on sale before Christmas in spite of markdowns at many competitors.