Retailer Marks & Spencer (MKS) fell 5.6% to 238.8p despite a positive Christmas update. The slump can be seen in the context of a very strong run for the share price, elevated expectations and the lack of an upgrade to full-year profit guidance alongside the trading statement.

Marks said it was ‘more confident’ to deliver on its already twice hiked guidance for full year pre-tax profit of £500 million after reporting a rise in sales in third quarter of the year including the key Christmas period.

For the 12 weeks to 1 January, sales increased 18.5% to £3.27 billion.  ‘Trading over the Christmas period has been strong, demonstrating the continued improvements we've made to product and value,’ the company said.

‘BREAKING OUT INTO THE PROMISED LAND’

‘Clothing & Home has delivered growth for the second successive quarter, supported by robust online and full price sales growth. Food has maintained its momentum, outperforming the market over both 12 and 24 months,’ it added.

The company will report full year results for the 52 weeks ended 2 April 2022 on 25 May 2022. Shore Capital analyst Clive Black said: ‘Should the positive forces outweigh the headwinds then we may just talk about M&S breaking out into the promised land of sustained sequential ongoing growth.

‘Hence, now is absolutely not the time to call victory, to repeat CEO Steve Rowe’s phraseology from the FY22 interim results, but we are that little bit more encouraged and confident that M&S is now, finally, on a really better trajectory.

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Issue Date: 13 Jan 2022