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Gloucestershire Business News

First ever loss for M&S

Marks & Spencer has suffered its first loss in its 94 year history as a publicly-listed company.

In the six months to 26th September, the retailer which has stores in Cheltenham, Gloucester and Cirencester, made a loss of £87.6m, compared with profits of £158.8m in the same period last year, as reported by the BBC.

But the firm's chief executive said its performance had actually been "much more robust than at first seemed possible".

Sales for the six-month period fell by 15.8 per cent to £4.09bn - largely due to lower fashion and homeware sales. While online sales increased during lockdown, they in no way matched the lost sales due to store closures.

Clothing sales in particular were hit by increased demand for casual clothing during lockdown. Clothing sales at city centre stores were down by 53 per cent between July and September.

Like-for-like food sales rose by 2.7 per cent in the same period.

M&S was one of the few big food retailers without its own online delivery service. It began a partnership with online supermarket Ocado in September, and has already seen a rise in sales and profitability. The retailer created over 750 new grocery lines to broaden its appeal to Ocado customers.

It's thought the new partnership could offset lost sales from office workers nipping in to M&S for lunch.

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