By Jonathan Davies
Marks & Spencer has reported yet another fall in its clothing sales after a dire Christmas period.
Like-for-like sales, which exclude new stores, of general merchandise, which is largely clothes, fell by 5.8% in the 13 weeks to 27 December, compared with last year.
It's the 14th consecutive quarter of falling clothing sales at Marks & Spencer.
M&S chief executive Marc Bolland admitted that the retailer had a "difficult quarter in general merchandise". The company said that "unseasonal" weather during October and November badly affected sales of winter clothes.
John Ibbotson, director of the retail consultants, Retail Vision, said: “The quality, price and website of its clothing arm are simply not good enough compared to the ever buoyant Next. M&S is still also confused about its target market – young or old?
"The middle class, as incongruous as it seems, is falling out of love with M&S.
"They still buy their food from M&S city centre and small stores, but increasingly head to Waitrose Food, where sales are growing strongly."
Despite ongoing woes in the clothing department, Marks & Spencer reported much stronger food sales, again.
Like-for-like sales were up 0.1% compared with the same period last year.
"M&S had a very good Christmas in food. We delivered record Christmas sales, strongly outperforming the market," Mr Bolland said.
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