Marks & Spencer is preparing to defend clothing to shareholders

Kasmira Jefford
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Marks & Spencer boss Marc Bolland is expected mount a vigorous defence of his turnaround strategy today and insist that its clothing arm is on the mend, despite analysts expecting another fall in general merchandise sales.

The retailer is likely to face a grilling from shareholders attending the annual general meeting at Wembley stadium over the performance of its clothing business, which it has spent months turning around.

Analysts have forecast that like-for-like sales for the past three months will have declined by 1.5 per cent in general merchandise, which includes clothing.

The retailer separated clothing sales from general merchandise in the previous three months, show­ing they had fallen by 0.6 per cent.

Bolland is also expected to face questions over its newly revamped website, which has been beset with problems since its launch in February after all 6m customers registered on the old site were forced to reregister. M&S warned in May that the site would take “four to six months to be at full strength”.

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