MARKS & Spencer failed to pull in New Year sales shoppers, with reports suggesting it lost ground to rivals Primark and Zara.
The retail bellwether lost 0.4% of market share and suffered a 1.3% slump in fashion sales in the 24 weeks to January 20, according to industry data from Kantar Worldpanel, reported in The Sunday Times.
But budget fashion chain Primark and high-street fashion brand Zara both saw double-digit sales growth, while Debenhams, H&M and Next also performed well, according to the report.
The figures will intensify pressure on M&S boss Marc Bolland after a dis- mal clothing performance over Christmas for the group, which reported that like-for-like sales fell by 1.8% in the UK in the 13 weeks to December 29, including a bigger than expected slump in general merchandise of 3.8%.
The group, which has drafted in the former Debenhams and Jaeger boss Belinda Earl to revitalise its womenswear, said at its last trading update that it had been a “challenging and highly-promotional” general merchandise market and it needed more time to address the turnaround plan.
The new team’s first collection for autumn/winter will not be in the shops until July.
It appears hard-up shoppers have been lured by the budget fashion from Primark, which has seen sales surge in recent years.
The figures come after a drop in January sales volumes as snow hit many parts of the UK.