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08 Jan 2021 | 07:01

M&S festive revenues slump as 'on-off' Covid restrictions hit sales

(Sharecast News) - Food and clothing retailer Marks & Spencer reported a fall third quarter revenue as it warned the latest UK Covid lockdown would hit sales and the Brexit trade deal "significantly impact" some of its European operations. Like-for-like revenue in the 13 weeks to December 26 fell 7.6% to £2.5bn with a 4.4% rise on food sales over the festive period was offset by a 24.1% slump in clothing and homewares. The November national lockdown in England was also painful, sending both food and non-food sales down 4.5% and 40.5% respectively.

M&S cited "on-off restrictions and distortions in demand patterns" due to the coronavirus crisis.

"The free trade agreement with the EU means we will not incur tariffs on our core UK sales. However potential tariffs on part of our range exported to the EU, together with very complex administrative processes, will significantly impact our businesses in Ireland, the Czech Republic and our franchise business in France which we are actively working to mitigate," M&S said on Friday.

The company said its tie-up with online firm Ocado had produced "very strong" results, while customers had responded to its "innovative seasonal product" during the four-week run-up to Christmas.
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