SHARE OF THE WEEK: Marks & Spencer figures will shine a light on state of High Street ahead of crucial Christmas period
Marks & Spencer will shine a light next week on the state of the High Street ahead of the crucial Christmas period.
Figures last week showed Next and Sainsbury’s both rode out the doom and gloom weighing on retailers, with food, clothing and merchandise sales holding up surprisingly well over autumn.
Investors will be hoping a half-year update from the 138-year-old retailer on Wednesday will tell a similar story.
M&S has been revamping its food offering under boss Stuart Machin, who has been in the job since May.
The business is also benefiting from a clothing overhaul led by co-chief Katie Bickerstaffe.
But its turnaround plan, which was showing green shoots under former boss Steve Rowe, has been thrown off course by the spiralling cost of living. Shares have fallen by half this year, leaving the business worth just over £2billion.
And analysts fear M&S may be losing shoppers to cheaper rivals as households tighten their belts. There are also fears its home goods sales will come under pressure, as hard up consumers delay purchases amid the squeeze.
But the biggest focus will be on its outlook for the coming months and into next year.
Shore Capital retail analyst Clive Black thinks M&S will have ‘traded well’ in food and clothing for the six months to October. But he said: ‘The challenge is the coming six to nine months, with interest rates rising and the Chancellor’s statement in two weeks which is likely to raise taxes and cut spending.’