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Marks & Spencer share price surges as retailer posts ‘steady performance’

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Shares in Marks & Spencer Group (LON:MKS) have climbed higher in London in today’s session, even as the blue-chip retailer posted a fall in sales for the third quarter of its financial year. The blue-chip retailer, which is undergoing restructuring under chief executive Steve Rowe and chairman Archie Norman, however, said that its transformation plan remained on track.

As of 10:03 GMT, Marks & Spencer’s share price had added 1.98 percent to 283.20p. The stock is outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having fallen into the red and currently standing 0.19 percent lower at 6,893.27 points.

‘Steady performance’

Marks & Spencer reported in a statement this morning that its total sales had fallen 3.9 percent to £3 billion in the 13 weeks to December 29. In the UK, sales dipped 2.2 percent, with food falling 2.1 percent and clothing & home suffering a 2.4-percent drop.

“Against the backdrop of well publicised difficult market conditions our performance remained steady across the period,” the group’s chief executive Steve Rowe commented in the statement, adding that the company’s food business had “traded successfully over Christmas as customers responded to improved value”.

“Our transformation programme remains on track,” Rowe pointed out. His comments come amid his ongoing restructuring plan which includes 100 store closures by 2020.

‘Not as bad as feared’

“Not as bad as feared – a good microcosm of the high street in general over Christmas – but Marks clearly has a long way to go to turn things around,” said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, as quoted by Proactive Investors. “So far not a significant sign of improvement but against a tough back drop and in the depths of a turnaround it’s too early to write it off. Marks has been here before and come out fine.”

As of 10:06 GMT, Thursday, 10 January, Marks and Spencer Group Plc share price is 283.20p.

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