R Marks’ last set of results were leaked a day early, forcing harried calls to the lawyers and a late-night conference call, the retailer will be hoping for patience from investors on more than one front this week.
Getting the figures out to the market at the scheduled time might be the only success for M&S boss Marc Bolland on Thursday.
Hamstrung by a clothes business that is halfway through a makeover, he hopes long-sighted shareholders will look beyond the nasty-looking drop in sales over the past year to an all-star clothing range in the autumn and a long-awaited website relaunch within the next year.
The new ideas seem appealing, but investors in it for the long-haul will recall that 18 months ago, Bolland set out a £600m revamp of M&S stores to inject new life into several departments – including clothing. Whatever is going wrong in this part of the business, it’s not through neglect.
Meanwhile, rivals like Primark continue to eat into M&S market share. The clock is ticking ever louder on the Dutchman’s turnaround plan.