M&S clothing revival predicted to be short lived

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Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer is predicted to report an abrupt halt to its clothing range revival amid the release of its annual profits on Wednesday.

The retailer hailed a return to growth for its ailing clothing arm for the first time in two years in January, but analysts are now predicting that its clothing and home line returned to decline dropping 3.3 per cent in the last quarter to March 31.

Analysts have also predicted a one per cent dip in its food arm for the fourth quarter, pulling its full year underlying pre-tax profits down 13 per cent to £593 million.

READ MORE: Retail Gazette Loves: Marks & Spencer’s “Spend it Well” campaign

Despite this M&S’s high profile appointments are predicted to lead to positive results in the future.

“We think that the immediate changes that management made to the offer, merchandising and service are starting to resonate with customers,” said Peel Hunt’s Jonathan Prichard, who predicts underlying sales rose 0.5 per cent over Easter.

M&S recently poached Halfords chief executive Jill McDonald to take on the task of reviving its clothing arm, while ex-Asda boss Archie Norman will take over from Robert Swannell as chairman.

Prichard added: “Who better to chair a recovery than Archie?”

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