Shares in Marks & Spencer fell this morning as the retailer revealed a fall in sales over the Christmas period.
In the 13 weeks to 29 December, like-for-like sales fell by 2.2%. UK clothing sales declined by 4.8%, food sales were down by 1.2%.
Marks & Spencer was particularly hit abroad, where closing stores have led to a 15.1% fall in sales.
Steve Rowe, the group’s chief executive, has said that November was “a very challenging trading period” due to mild weather, a reduction in consumer confidence and high competition.
Lee Wild, who is the head of equity strategy at Interactive Investor, said: “Like all the established UK retailers, Marks & Spencer has been warning for years that online competition and discount stores are stealing business, and that’s reflected in these third-quarter results.”
“Cautious consumers, mild weather and an uninspiring offering across clothing and food haven’t helped,” he added.
Richard Lim, who is the chief executive of research analysis firm Retail Economics, blamed the fall in sales at Marks and Spencer of the retailer’s “outdated business model”.
“These results are worse than expected. It’s increasingly evident that Christmas is becoming an online event and these figures reaffirm the polarisation of shopping habits. Put simply, the retailer is burdened with too many stores, unsuitable space and … spiralling operating costs,” he added.
Shares in the firm opened 1.4% lower but have recovered and are currently trading up 1.08% at 280,70 (0903GMT).