Nov. 5 - British retailer Marks & Spencer reported a ninth consecutive quarterly fall in underlying sales of general merchandise, with its much vaunted new season clothing ranges only managing to slightly slow the rate of decline. Hayley Platt asks if this means Marc Bolland's days as CEO are numbered?
Nine is today's daily digit - the number of consecutive quarters Marks and Spencer has seen a fall in underlying sales of general merchandise and the percent drop in its first-half underlying pretax profit. The group's autumn range of clothing wowed critics but has so far failed to wow customers, only slightly slowing the rate of decline. The food business - which makes up over half of group sales - remains strong, beating forecasts with a 3.2 percent rise. But will that be enough to save CEO Marc Bolland's job? Joe Rundle from ETX capital thinks not. SOUNDBITE: Joe Rundle, Head of Trading, ETX Capital, saying (English): "It's blaming the retail environment for the lack of clothes sales but you've got Primark coming out today with a huge increase in profit so consumers are spending they're just choosing not to spend on Marks & Spencer's clothes and they've got their range very wrong so I think if it carries on Mr Bolland is going to look for a new job." M and S is an institution in the UK. The 129-year old retailer serves 21 million customers every week. It's currently in its final year of a three-year investment programme. It's revamping some of its 770 domestic stores and looking to grow the business internationally. But progress is slow. It's new women's wear collection may have only been in the shops a few months. But many believe it's not going to turn around the fortunes of Britain's biggest clothing retailer.