Marks & Spencer braces for drop in fashion sales

Marks & Spencer is reportedly expecting to see a 3.3% drop in sales of fashion items, including lingerie, when its results are published tomorrow.

It is expected that the results will confirm a decline in the retailer’s annual clothing sales, despite a fruitful Christmas. The group is set for a pre-tax profit slump of 14% to £593 million.

The challenge for new chairman, Archie Norman, will be significant and there is pressure on him to turn the group’s fashion lines around when he joins in September. He has been hailed as a potential saviour for the declining retailer and has previously improved the fortunes of Asda and ITV.

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Norman’s appointment follows some announcements which have been met with scepticism in the retail industry. These include the extension of a contract with the brothers Mark and Neal Lindsay and the hiring of  Halfords’ Jill McDonald as head of clothing and homeware.

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