Marks & Spencer rocked by worst food sales for a decade after scrapping its popular £10 ‘Dine in for Two’ meal deal
M&S said its recently launched womenswear collaboration with TV personality Holly Willoughby had been a hit with customers
Marks & Spencer boss Steve Rowe said he was facing the facts after its worst food sales in a decade.
He said management was ‘turning every stone’ to revive the business after it posted a 2.9 per cent drop in food, with purchases of clothing and homeware products down 1.1 per cent.
Revenues declined 3.1 per cent to just under £5billion, but profits edged up 7.1 per cent to £126.7million.
The disappointing sales put further pressure on M&S to speed up its transformation plan ahead of Christmas.
It is the first time since the second half of the 2008-09 financial year it has posted such poor food sales, when they fell 4.7 per cent.
Rowe admitted M&S’s poor food performance was in part self-inflicted as it got rid of ‘confusing’ multi-buy offers and introduced bigger family pack sizes and lower prices.
Just last week M&S prompted outrage among customers after it scrapped its famous £10 ‘Dine in for Two’ meal deal, replacing it with a £12 version.
But Rowe said: ‘We are turning every stone in the business over to make sure that we build a business fit for the future and that means there’s an awful lot of work going on across every area,’ he said.
‘We’re protecting the magic of M&S food, we believe it’s the best on the High Street. But what we want to do is sharpen the value and that means we’re bringing prices down and taking away confusing promotions.’
M&S has already cut prices on 100 Christmas lines in a bid to encourage more customers through its doors. One in four turkeys sold in the UK at Christmas are from M&S.
Like many other retailers, M&S has been hit by a downturn on the High Street and an onslaught from online-only firms such as Amazon and Asos. Its food division has also suffered from fierce competition posed by German discounters Lidl and Aldi.
M&S said its recently launched womenswear collaboration with TV personality Holly Willoughby had been a hit with customers, but it was too early to see the full impact. Its online business fared better, where sales were up 9.1 per cent.
One in five of every clothing and home purchase now made through its website though it does not have an online food delivery service.
M&S is closing 100 stores to save cash and drive more customers to its website, and intends to close more.