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News - 21 December 2003
M&S Sets the Scene for Poor Christmas Trading
According to insiders sales of clothing, particularly women’s fashion and partywear, in M&S are running about 10% down on last year and there seems to be little sign of a last minute rush making up the poor figures.
Trading on the high street has been tough this year and it is no surprise that even the big chains are struggling. Discounter Matalan issued a profit warning earlier in December and rumours abound of a major shakeup in WH Smith in January.
The independent sector in Brighton & Hove is running between 10 and 15% down on 2002 with little hope now that it will recover in the three days before the holiday. For small shops it gets to the point where they physically cannot fit shoppers into their stores even if they turn out in droves. All the indications in the economic outlook would suggest that a tough Christmas is going to be followed by a tough 2004.
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