British retailer Marks & Spencer posted an eighth consecutive quarterly fall in underlying sales of clothing, piling pressure on management to deliver a swift turnaround when new ranges start hitting the shops this month. Hayley Platt reports.
They weren't the results Marks and Spencer would have liked but they were largely expected. The British retailer reported a 1.6 percent fall in sales of its general merchandising which includes clothing. It's the company's eighth consecutive fall. And while food sales rose 1.8 percent, the clothing side still needs fixing. Kantar Retail's Bryan Roberts. SOUNDBITE: Bryan Roberts, Director of research, Kantar Retail, saying (English): "The fundamental bedrock of M&S as a retailer is clothing and within that it's women's wear so there's a huge amount riding on the success of the women's wear range when it launches nation-wide as we progress into autumn." The new collection is due to hit stores later this month. ` M&S has promised to improve its fabric quality and reduce the number of lines by 10%, favouring stronger designs instead. It's online business is doing well and it's also revamping some of its 760 stores. But it's a slow process. SOUNDBITE: Bryan Roberts, Director of research, Kantar Retail, saying (English): "The key issue for M&S as it is always is how the stuff looks in store and sadly for M&S a lot of the stores simply aren't capable of merchandising their products in a very affective way." Chief executive Marc Boland isn't promising a fast turnaround. He's taking a step-by-step approach. But experts say he has until January before the knives start to be sharpened.