Marks and Spencer Group plc Posts 8th Consecutive Quarter Of Declining Sales

Clothing and home goods suffer, while some signs of life in food and online at Marks and Spencer Group plc (LON:MKS).

The content of this article was relevant at the time of publishing. Circumstances change continuously and caution should therefore be exercised when relying upon any content contained within this article.

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More.

It’s never good when a retailer posts eight consecutive quarters of declining sales in its key division.

But such is the news for the UK’s largest retailer, Marks & Spencer (LSE: MKS), which today released a rather tepid interim management statement. Shares were down about 2% in morning trading.

Sales in the food division, which has remained a bright spot for Marks & Spencer, climbed 1.8% in the 13 weeks ended June 29, the company said. International sales, which comprise only 10% of Marks & Spencer’s total sales, were up 8.7%. Online orders also showed some signs of life, as sales from M& were up nearly 30%.

But all eyes are on the clothing and home divisions, where Marks & Spencer has been struggling despite a detailed three-part turnaround plan that’s well under way.

Unfortunately, like-for-like sales — or sales at stores open at least a year — fell 1.6% in clothing and home goods, the company reported.

Marc Bolland, Marks & Spencer’s Chief Executive, said in a conference call that first-quarter performance was impacted by a “very difficult” April, a more stable May and highly promotional June in which it had to respond with heavy discounts.

A soft first quarter puts lot of pressure on the Autumn-Winter line, which hits stores later this month.

Investors should be somewhat encouraged by Marks & Spencer’s progress in online and food sales, but the real test is whether this retailer can get people into its stores and actually start growing again – and this latest report doesn’t give us much to hope for.

If you’re tired of waiting and are looking to add some growth to your portfolio today, grab a copy of Our Top Growth Share for 2013.

Click here to download a free copy today and get instant access to the name and details of this under-followed share.  

> Neither Jill nor The Motley Fool owns shares in Marks & Spencer.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

More on Company Comment

Hand of person putting wood cube block with word VALUE on wooden table
Company Comment

Value has been building behind the Diageo share price

Despite the business growing, the Diageo share price first reached its current level just over 19 months ago and hasn't…

Read more »

Older couple walking in park
Investing Articles

5 stocks to buy for high and rising dividend income

I can see a host of shares to buy on the FTSE 100 offering me exceptional levels of income. Here…

Read more »

Young mixed-race woman looking out of the window with a look of consternation on her face
Investing Articles

I don’t care if FTSE 100 shares fall further, I’m buying them today

I'm happy to go shopping for FTSE 100 shares today, even though I accept that they could have further to…

Read more »

Happy young female stock-picker in a cafe
Investing Articles

Rolls-Royce shares are down 18% in a month and I’m finally going to buy them

Investors who bought Rolls-Royce shares have been repeatedly disappointed, but I'm willing to take a chance on them before they…

Read more »

Storytelling image of a multiethnic senior couple in love - Elderly married couple dating outdoors, love emotions and feelings
Investing Articles

How I’d invest £10k in a Stocks and Shares ISA today

Now looks like a good time to buy cheap FTSE 100 shares inside a Stocks and Shares ISA. These are…

Read more »

Black father holding daughter in a field of cows
Investing Articles

Today’s financial crisis is the perfect moment to buy cheap shares

I'm building a portfolio of FTSE 100 stocks by purchasing cheap shares whenever I see an opportunity. There's a good…

Read more »

Long-term vs short-term investing concept on a staircase
Investing Articles

I’d buy Tesco shares in October to bag their 5.4% yield 

Tesco shares have fallen lately but I think this makes them attractively valued for a dividend stock I would aim…

Read more »

Young mixed-race woman looking out of the window with a look of consternation on her face
Investing Articles

I would do anything to hold Diageo in my portfolio (but I won’t do that)

Diageo is one of my favourite stocks on the entire FTSE 100 and I'd love to hold it, but one…

Read more »