M&S clothing sales slump, says too early to quantify Brexit impact

LONDON, July 7 (Reuters) – British retailer Marks & Spencer on Thursday reported a worse than expected fall in quarterly underlying sales in its clothing division, reflecting a weak market, price cuts and fewer promotions.

M&S said consumer confidence weakened in the run up to the June 23 European Union referendum but said it was too early to quantify the implications of Brexit and maintained its guidance for the 2016-17 year.

Steve Rowe succeeded Marc Bolland as chief executive of the 132-year-old clothing and food stores group in April and warned in May that efforts to turn around its clothing business by cutting prices and improving ranges would dent short term sales and profit.

M&S said that over the 13 weeks to July 2, its fiscal first quarter, sales of clothing and home products at stores open over a year fell 8.9 percent.

That compares to analysts’ forecasts of down 5 to 8 percent and a decline of 2.7 percent in the fourth quarter of M&S’s 2015-16 year.

Like-for-like food sales fell 0.9 percent, having been flat in the previous quarter

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