Rivals take more market share from Rose's M&S

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The Independent Online

Marks &Amp; Spencer has continued to lose market share to its rivals over the summer, Stuart Rose, the chief executive, will say this week.

Marks &Amp; Spencer has continued to lose market share to its rivals over the summer, Stuart Rose, the chief executive, will say this week.

Mr Rose will issue a trading update tomorrow as M&S announces plans to buy back £2.3bn of its shares, almost a quarter of the company. He will confirm the gloomy figures revealed in confidential retail surveys leaked over the weekend, which show M&S's share of the clothing market level-pegging with Asda on 9 per cent by volume. Even measured as a proportion of the amount spent by UK clothes buyers, M&S's share declined in August.

Analysts hope that the recent colder weather has inspired a strong start to the autumn season, but Mr Rose will continue to argue that current sales reflect the buying mistakes of previous management rather than the influence of his new team. It will take up to a year to fully update M&S's ranges.

The M&S board meets tonight to finalise a range within which the tender offer for shares will be priced. The low end of the range is likely to be a small discount to the current market price, probably 340p-345p, while many investors will be disappointed that the top end is unlikely to match the 400p at which Philip Green pitched his offer for the company. The massive share buy-back was a key plank of the defence that fought off Mr Green.

The board will argue that a lower price brings the greatest enhancement to earnings per share and a higher price would cede too much value to the hedge funds who, having bought in hoping for a bid, are using the tender offer to cash in their holdings.

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