Marks & Spencer in five-year clothing struggle
Marks and Spencer's clothing business has come under increased scruitiny in recent months. However, looking through just-style's archives it becomes clear that its performance has been patchy for quite some time. Petah Marian looks at M&S's major milestones over the past five years.
- 10 July 2007: Marks & Spencer posted "better than expected" first-quarter sales, but said the short-term trading environment is likely to remain "very challenging". General merchandise sales rose 2.9% on a like-for-like basis as overall sales increased 3.5%.
- 6 November 2007: First-half operating profit rose 9.1% as clothing revenue increased 3.1%. The retailer said that in general merchandise, better styling, more choice and lower prices helped sales volumes grow by 9%. The company announced it was seeking a franchise partner in India and a wholly-owned presence in China.
- 9 January 2008: Third-quarter revenues fell 2.2% amid poor clothing sales. The results were its worst quarterly results in two years. It said general merchandise sales were down 3.2% on a like-for-like basis.
- 15 January 2008: M&S launches a clothing recyling programme in partnership with Oxfam, where customers who donate clothes to Oxfam get a GBP5 voucher to spend in-store.
- 20 March 2008: Announced plans to spend at least EUR13.6m with retail partner COMS to expand in Central and Eastern Europe.
- 20 May 2008: Marks & Spencer breaks the GBP1bn full-year profit barrier for the first time in more than a decade. Annual clothing revenues rose 0.8%, but lagged by 1.3% in the second half of the year.
- 2 July 2008: A surprise profit warning was issued after weakening consumer confidence and slumping sales. Like-for-like sales of general merchandise were down 6.2% over the first quarter.
- 2 October 2008: M&S announces plans to cut capital spending by up to GBP200m after second-quarter like-for-like sales declined 6.1%. General merchandise revenue fell 2.9%, with clothing sales falling 3.5% over the quarter.
- 4 November 2008: First half profit plunges 34% as the weakening economy continues to erode consumer confidence. General merchandise revenue fell 6.2% over the half.
- 26 January 2009: M&S launches the Portfolio sub-brand to target women in the mid-forties and over age group.
- 15 October 2009: Kate Bostock, executive director of clothing hails the launch of the Indigo brand and emphasises M&S's value proposition: "Our core customer doesn't want the lowest price - they want value which is price times quality," she said.
- 19 November 2009: Morrisons CEO Marc Bolland is named as chief executive, replacing Sir Stuart Rose. The move was welcomed by the financial markets, with M&S' share price rising 6% on the announcement.
- 6 January 2010: Clothing posted a 4% increase in third-quarter sales as group sales rose 2.6% over the period. The company said knitwear, sleepwear and footwear sales were particularly strong.
- 7 July 2010: The retailer reports a 7.4% increase in clothing sales over Marc Bolland's first quarter as chief executive. Women's wear, lingerie, men's wear and children's wear all contributed to growth in the clothing channel.
- 9 November 2010: Marc Bolland announces plans to axe the Portfolio sub-brand, while revealing a new strategy to turn the sub-brands into real brands. He said the company wanted to improve its core clothing ranges "so that the unique quality, style and fashion of the M&S brand stand out".
- 6 April 2011: M&S posts a 2.3% increase in group sales over the fourth-quarter, while general merchandise sales fell 3.4%, down 3.9% on a like-for-like basis.
- 13 July 2011: The retailer says it continues to build market share in the UK clothing sector, despite recording flat like-for-like sales. General merchandise revenue increased 0.3% over the quarter.
- 8 November 2011: First-half profit fell on the back of the "challenging economic environment". General merchandise sales were down 0.8% and slipped 1.3% on a like-for-like basis. The retailer also launched its first fast-fashion line under the M&S Woman brand.
- 10 January 2012: The retailer reports women's wear sales fell during the third quarter. Bolland described women's wear as the "heart of competition" on the high street, where everyone is competing on price.
- 17 April 2012: The retailer revealed a decline in fourth-quarter clothing sales as it admitted to running short of stock in a number of its best-selling women's wear lines.
- 22 May 2012: The first fall in full-year profits in three years prompted the retailer to say it is taking steps to improve its buying and merchandising after a mixed performance in its clothing lines. Steps included bolstering its design teams as well as ramping up the amount of clothing it sources on a fast-fashion basis.
- 10 July 2012: Marks & Spencer announces general merchandise executive director Kate Bostock will leave the company by "mutual consent" as first-quarter general merchandise sales slumped.
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