Marks & Spencer survives winter storms

While quite a few of the U.K.’s largest retailers reported significant losses due to bad weather up to and during the holidays, Marks & Spencer says they did pretty well, considering.  Marc Bolland, chief executive of M&S, said that employees had done a good job of “minimising disruption” to customers, and the company had “traded well” in difficult circumstances.

In the 13 weeks to the end of December, Marks & Spencer showed an increase in overall U.K. sales of about 4% over the same period last year.  Food sales did not do quite as well as anticipated, though the company reported sales of £50 million in food on the 23rd of December alone.  They indicated that was a record; interestingly, analysts noted that the same figure was quoted as a record for sales on that date for the last two years.

M&S reported they had actually done better than predicted, with a rise in like-for-like sales of about 2.8%, and of course the numbers would have looked even better if not for the snow and ice that kept many shoppers from hitting the stores in December.  Analysts figure that M&S probably lost between £50 and £55 million in sales because of the weather; Next lost about £22 million and Debenhams about £30 million for the same reason.