Marks and Spencer’s market update on fourth quarter trading, due on Wednesday, is expected to show a 6.2 percent drop in same-store general merchandise sales, according to retail analysts.
Food sales are expected to have increased by 1.3 percent, leading to a company-wide fall in sales of around 2.5 percent.
The M&S news, which follows last week’s unexpected profit warning by electronics retailer Dixons and wine store Oddbins falling into administration, will add to the body of evidence that the high street is going through a highly challenging time.
However, other experts point out that the M&S Q4 news was always expected to be bad. The corresponding quarter in 2009 was exceptionally strong for the retailer and hard to top, while the terrible December weather dragged down most retailers’ sales.
A strong bounce back is expected to be recorded as first quarter retail figures begin to be published. The Royal Wedding, a warmer than usual March and pent up demand following the December freeze should all feed through to better results on the high street.