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12 January 2018, 12:22 | Jan Cross
DARK DAY For M&S and HoF the Christmas results have been one to forget
Morrisons (MRW) is perhaps the retailer with the most to celebrate after its stores estate improved like-for-like sales by 2.8% in the six weeks to January 7.
Tesco said its biggest ever sales week in the United Kingdom was over Christmas, with 58 million customer transactions and 770,000 online grocery deliveries in one week.
The retailer hailed a "strong" third-quarter performance in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, with United Kingdom like-for-like sales up 2.3% in the period and 1.9% over the Christmas trading season.
Food sales rose 3.6% on a total basis to £1.666bn, but like-for-like food sales were down 0.4%.
The clothing market was particularly weak in October and food sales have been continuously underperforming, he said.
"That's probably a result of consumers tightening their belts when it comes to grocery shopping, and the strong performance of supermarket premium ranges suggests when customers are splashing out, they are increasingly doing it at Sainsbury's, Tesco and Morrisons rather than at M&S".
Similarly, Marks and Spencer Group lost 4.5 percent after reporting a 2.8 percent fall in like-for-like sales for its struggling clothing and home divisions over the Christmas quarter.
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M&S, which is in the middle of a turnaround, said that like-for-like sales in its general merchandise arm were down 2.8 per cent in the 13 weeks to December 30.
"Following another good staging post in Dave Lewis" time in charge of Tesco, Shore Capital reiterates our "buy' stance on the group's shares".
The declines reported were still not as steep as some feared after profit warnings from the likes of Debenhams, Moss Bros and Mothercare.
Once a venerable British institution, M&S faces unrelenting competition on the high street and online, while efforts to revitalise its 134-year-old business are being held back by a squeeze on consumers as inflation rises and wage growth falters. The hard discounter claimed to be the UK's fastest growing supermarket during the four weeks to 31 December 2017.
But Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the partnership which owns the department store chain as well as supermarket Waitrose, admitted that pressure on profit margins had intensified amid rising costs thanks to the pound's Brexit-related weakness, and warned that trading would remain "volatile" for the year ahead.
However, it did not give a breakdown of like-for-like sales, again ignoring an industry benchmark used by its peers.
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