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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Marks & Spencer CEO: "the sharpest downturn in the shortest time"

by Calculated Risk on 1/07/2009 06:03:00 PM

From the Guardian: M&S chief pleads for government help after sales slump

Marks & Spencer chief Sir Stuart Rose today called on the government to do all it could to restore consumer confidence as the high street giant unveiled dire Christmas trading, the closure of 27 stores and confirmed more than 1,200 staff were to be axed in a bid to cut costs.
The 125-year-old retailer, which has 600 outlets, said like-for-like sales were down 7.1% in the 13 weeks to 27 December, despite holding two one-day pre-Christmas sales, when 20% was slashed off the price of all goods. Like-for-like sales of general merchandise – clothing and homewares – were down nearly 9% and food sales declined 5.2% from 2007 levels.
Rose said the looming recession was "the sharpest downturn in the shortest time" he had witnessed in 38 years in the retail business, and the outlook remained challenging.
I suspect December retail sales will be very ugly (worse than October and November).