M&S slashes prices to beat downturn
Marks & Spencer will tomorrow hold a one-day 20 per cent off sale amid further signs of anxiety over the downturn in consumer spending.
The retailer will slash prices in its fashion and homewares departments in its biggest one-day promotion for four years.
M&S will join other big name high street retailers discounting their stock this week, including Debenhams and Bhs.
It came as a leading firm of stockbrokers made a further cut to its profits forecast for the retailer. Seymour Pierce stockbrokers downgraded its 2008/9 estimate from £650m to £630m, but left the following year's forecast unchanged at £535m.
Analyst Freddie George said the M&S sale was a "clear sign that sales are well behind budget" as it enters the festive season.
He said consumers appear to be delaying their Christmas shopping, hoping to catch bargains as shops increase their sales.
"Christmas 2008 has the feel of being the worst retailing Christmas for many years - more for the higher level of discount activity," he said.
M&S executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose has not attempted such a large one-day sale since his "Christmas Spectacular" just after he took over in 2004.
A source today said the earlier sale was "for very different reasons".
"If you look down the high street [now], there's just loads of discounting going on out there."
M&S has recently struggled as shoppers snub its premium end food offering, while its clothing is also being squeezed by competition at both ends of the market.
General merchandise - including clothing - saw like-for-like sales fall 6.4 per cent in the 13 weeks to 27 September although Sir Stuart has said M&S continued to offer "quality, stylish product" and was confident about its autumn and winter ranges.
The retail bellwether's overall UK like-for-like sales fell 6.1 per cent - its worst quarterly performance since January-April 2005.
Yesterday the company announced that George Davies, the fashion designer behind its hit Per Una womenswear range, would leave at the end of the year.
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 3 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 4 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Russell Brand opposes anti-Semitism after death threats: 'We must disavow all forms of prejudice that lead to exclusion and execution'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Microbial life found living on the exterior of the International Space Station, say reports
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET ...
£20000 - £30000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Junior D...
£550 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Traded Credit Risk - Investmen...
£55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...