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M&S 12-Week Clothes Revenue Decline Quickens, Nomura Reports

Marks & Spencer Group Plc’s decline in general merchandise sales accelerated in the three months to the end of October, as the retailer pulled forward its mid-season sale, Nomura said, citing Kantar Worldpanel data.

General merchandise sales fell 2 percent in the 12 weeks ended Oct. 27,compared with a 0.1 percent drop in the 12 weeks to the end of September, Fraser Ramzan, an analyst at Nomura, said in a note, citing the data that are not publicly available.

Marks & Spencer brought forward its mid-season sale to September to make room for its new autumn/winter collection, Chief Executive Officer Marc Bolland said Nov. 5. He’s counting on the new range to reverse nine straight quarters of declining same-store sales in general merchandise as shoppers defect to rivals such as budget chain Primark and Inditex SA’s Zara.

Nomura will reduce its third-quarter like-for-like forecast “by a precautionary 1 percentage point and add the sales” to the fourth quarter estimate, according to the note.

The overall fashion market declined by 1 percent over the period, compared with an unchanged reading in 12 weeks ending in September, the Kantar Worldpanel figures showed, according to Nomura.

Marks & Spencer reported the smallest decline in general-merchandise sales in more than two years this month, signaling that a new women’s clothing collection may be helping the U.K.’s largest clothing retailer regain shoppers.

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