Marks and Spencer Group Plc (LON:MKS) releases its Q3 interim management statement.
Marks & Spencer (LSE: MKS) this morning has seen its shares drop off 5.1%, or 18.90p, to 352.10p at the time of writing, after taking the unprecedented step of releasing its trading statement almost 12 hours ahead of schedule.
This came as a results of leaks to Sky News concerning figures of the FTSE 100 (UKX) company's clothes and general merchandise business, which saw like-for-like (LFL) UK sales fall 3.8% in the third-quarter. Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland took the decision to put out the rest of the Q3 results earlier than scheduled.
There was good news, however, from the company's food business, which saw LFL UK sales increase 0.3% in the 13 weeks to 29 December, but the general merchandise's poor performance saw total LFL sales in the UK diminish 1.8%.
Group sales were up 0.6%, while total UK sales increased 0.3% -- again, food outperformed with a 2.7% increase and it was the general merchandise division that tempered the overall figure, with a decline of 2.2%.
Bolland commented: "Our plan is to transform Marks & Spencer from a traditional UK retailer to an international multi-channel retailer. We are making good progress against this plan." Indeed, the company's international sales rose 4.1%, while multi-channel sales increased 10.8% in the period. M&S launched free next-day store collection as part of a customer-service improvement drive, and plans to launch the new e-commerce distribution centre and the new web platform are on track, aiming for April 2013 and Spring 2014 respectively.
The 5% slump on the stock market wrote off around £270m in value, however, the share price is slowly beginning to rebound. Whether the dip entices you to buy Marks & Spencer is, of course, up to you.
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> Sam does not own shares in Marks & Spencer.