Christmas is not over: bad news for M&S, better for Tesco

Jan 10, 2013

CEO Marc Bolland under pressure over poor figures and there's speculation about a hostile bid


MARKS & SPENCER was last night forced to rush out its Christmas trading figures after details were leaked to Sky News - and they weren't pretty.

The high street chain saw a slump in UK clothing sales of 3.8 per cent in the 13 weeks around Christmas and only a 0.3 per cent rise in food sales compared with 2011. Meanwhile, Tesco reported modestly improved sales figures this morning - up 1.8 per cent for the five weeks to 5 January.

The poor numbers at M&S are likely to put M&S chief executive Marc Bolland boss under severe pressure and have even raised speculation of a hostile bid for the company.

But Bolland put a brave face on the numbers saying he was in the midst of transforming the company from a UK retailer to a multi-national brand: "We are making good progress against this plan. We are pleased with our multi-channel and international performance."

Overall UK like-for-like sales, which strip out the impact of changes to store space, were down 1.8 per cent.

Meanwhile Britain's favourite baker Greggs slumped by 2.9 per cent over Christmas, according to the Daily Telegraph. The chain said 2011 had been artificially boosted by Christmas and New Year's Day falling on Sundays - traditionally the slowest days of the week for the bakery.

Phones4u saw a huge surge in Christmas sales to £121.6 million - a leap of 23.6 per cent, according to Mobile Today. The big jump was put down to a higher proportion of more profitable contract sales versus low margin pay-as-you-go deals.

Tesco reported modestly improved sales figures this morning, according to Sky News. Sales were up 1.8 per cent for the five weeks to 5 January.

Sainsburys could manage only a 0.9 per cent rise in the 14 weeks to January 5 - its slowest growth in sales since 2005

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