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%.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.