M&S shares take a tumble as sales data released early

<p>Shares in M&S have fallen as the high street giant is forced to release its sales figures for Christmas early.</p>

Marks and Spencer (M&S) has witnessed its share price nosedive on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) this morning (January 10th), after the company released its Christmas sales data earlier than planned.

The high street giant had to publish the report after news outlets began reporting leaked information last night. The trading statement had been anticipated to be released later today.

Its sales figures show that like-for-like sales in the UK, excluding new store openings, in the 13 weeks to December 29th fell by 1.8 per cent on the same period a year earlier, while like-for-like food sales increased by just 0.3 per cent.

Sales of general merchandise declined by 3.8 per cent over the crucial Christmas shopping period.

M&S chief executive Marc Bolland told BBC News: "Our general merchandise performance is not yet satisfactory but we are confident that the steps being taken by the new management team will address this."

At 10:15 GMT, M&S shares fell by 3.6 per cent on the LSE to 357.60p per unit.

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