UK retail giant Marks & Spencer is poised to announce the axing of more than 1,000 jobs after registering the company's worst Christmas trading performance in 80 years, according to reports.

The job cuts at the UK's largest clothing retailer are reported to include nearly 1,000 redundancies at Marks & Spencer branches, plus several hundred more job losses at the company's head office.

According to reports in The Times which were later supported by the BBC, the company will announce the job losses early tomorrow (7 January), alongside an update on its Christmas trading performance.

Analysts believe Marks & Spencer clothing revenues were down 8% during the company's third quarter, despite a pre-Christmas sale and heavy promotional activity.

Executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose will argue that year-on-year comparisons are meaningless during the current downturn, The Times reports, but analysts argue that the retailer's rivals - especially supermarkets like Tesco and Asda - have stolen market share during the Christmas period.

A Marks & Spencer spokesperson declined to comment on the reports when contacted by just-style today.