Marks & Spencer has reported a 75% drop in clothing sales during the UK virus lockdown, it revealed today.
The high street giant has taken a £145m hit on the unsold stock piled up in its warehouses.
Russ Mould from AJ Bell said: “Seemingly forever stuck in turnaround mode, the latest results from Marks & Spencer provide a few interesting snippets about the business.
“Its food business is more profitable than its clothing arm, a reflection of how it has cracked the proposition for the former and continues to disappoint with the latter.
“It is going to sell core clothing items via its Ocado online grocery joint venture, meaning customers will be able to get pants and socks with their Percy Pigs sweets and avocados. That makes perfect sense and it should be an easy win for Marks & Spencer, particularly as margins are likely to be much higher on clothes.
“If fewer people are visiting its stores for clothing essentials, this is a chance to cross-sell items with little effort as people go through the checkout process for their online food shop.
“Separate to the online grocery offering which launches in September, it is going to sell third party clothing products online to broaden its appeal and drive web sales. This tactic is already being used by Next and has been trialled by H&M. The challenge here is not to dilute the appeal of its own clothes.
“With all of these initiatives Marks & Spencer’s opportunity to succeed rests on its ability to offer the products customers want and deliver them as efficiently as possible.”