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M&S seeks revival as sales drop for ninth quarter
Nov '13
A ninth straight drop in quarterly sales hit the profitability of Britain’s biggest clothing retailer last quarter, Marks & Spencer (M&S), which is stepping up efforts to revive itself, and regain shoppers.
Sales at stores open for at least the last 12 months or like-for-like sales fell by 1.3 per cent in the three months ended September 28, 2013. 
The London-based company’s underlying pretax profit slipped by 8.9 per cent to 262 million pounds.
However, the dark clouds grappling the company’s recent bleak financial performance may soon be lifted by its new women’s clothing collection which is already receiving good response from customers.
While the launch of the fall-winter collection weighed heavily on the company’s costs last quarter, the new autumn and winter ranges are crucial to the company’s revival, which is battling stiff competition from rivals such as Primark and Next.
The fall-winter collection includes designs such as 199-pound ($318) body-hugging leather dresses. 
In a bid to lure customers, M&S is banking on heavy advertising, new fashion ranges and improvement in store interiors.
The company roped in Academy Award-winning actress Helen Mirren and Grace, the creative director of American Vogue, for its new fall-winter clothing collection.
While the UK economy may have turned the corner, consumers in the UK are hard-pressed as wage rises lag cost inflation; signaling that the full-revival of M&S may be some time away.
However, with Christmas and the holiday shopping season round the corner, when demand for winter clothing tends to be at its peak, this quarter may well deliver some better news for the British clothing retailer.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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Courtesy: House of Fraser

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